Mon | Sep 25, 2017

Infrastructure splurge needed – Vaz sees no other option to address ills of Central Westmoreland

Published:Monday | February 13, 2017 | 2:00 AMRomario Scott
Dwayne Vaz

Dwayne Vaz, the member of parliament (MP) for Central Westmoreland, is convinced that injecting millions of dollars through massive government investments is the only way to assist his constituency in addressing its social and infrastructural ills.

The need for roads, potable water and electricity, Vaz said, are the loudest cries from his constituents.

The MP argued that the $20 million allocated to him through the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) is inadequate to attend to the deep needs of the constituency out west.

"We know that we do not have satisfactory roads and we do not have the level of water supply that we think we should have ... . Those are some things we have been lobbying for," said Vaz, a second-term MP who was thrust into representational politics after the 2014 death of Roger Clarke, the former MP.

He continued: "We know the difficulties with resources, but something has to be put in place. Our little CDF cannot do major projects and based on the situation in Westmoreland, it's going to take big investments, and that can only come from Government."

NO RELIEF IN SIGHT

The issue of poor housing is also a major concern for Vaz, but with many residents not in possession of a land title and with the absence of a long-term regularisation programme, there is no relief in sight for the Central Westmoreland residents.

"If we were to try to get assistance from Food For The Poor, for example, we could not, because most of the residents do not own the land [they currently occupy]. So an organisation like Food For The Poor won't go ahead unless they can see some documentation," said Vaz, an Opposition backbencher.

He further said that though some regularisation has been done, there are many areas still in need of intervention.

Dwayne Vaz, member of parliament (MP) for Central Westmoreland and a former Social Development Committee officer, told The Gleaner yesterday that though he has been hammering at the doors of successive administrations of Government for resources for his constituency, he has recognised that the resources are scarce.

"There is no short of lobbying, but we know that that the Government is strapped for resources and everybody is lobbying for the same resources."

The MP is uncertain as to whether his constituency will be given priority after having seen past projects sucked from the pipeline.

He is, however, placing his faith in the ministers within the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation to deliver good news based on a commitment made to him to have the projects accounted for in the 2017-2018 Budget tabled last week.

romario.scott@gleanerjm.com