MP wants substantial increase of CDF
Erica Virtue, Senior Gleaner Writer
Dr Dayton Campbell, the Member of Parliament for St Ann North West, yesterday called for substantial increases to the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) allocation to MPs to enable them to make worthwhile contributions to the lives of their constituents.
Campbell was one of three MPs making contributions to the State of the Constituency debate in the House of Representatives during which they account of their stewardships for the year.
Campbell called for an end to the interference of politics in constituency projects when regimes changed.
He said, the interest of the constituents cannot be adequately served with the current $20 million allocation.
“The idea and concept of the CDF was and is still a very good idea. And, I am wondering if the time has not come for us a parliament to look at the CDF and to say that we need to increase it in a meaningful way so that we can empower the Members of Parliament that when they are elected and charged to develop a community they have it within their capabilities to do so,” said Campbell.
“I believe that the CDF should be increased exponentially,” Campbell said.
According to him, complaints from residents about roads cannot be fixed from $20 million annually, and neither can complaints about the need for potable water be met.
“We have seen where there is a level of apathy and it is growing because people are not seeing what they have voted for in several instances, because when you represent a rural constituency it is different from a constituency in Kingston and St Andrew,” Campbell argued.
He called for the matter to be addressed in a real way so that demands by constituents can be realistic.
According to Campbell, it is currently difficult for MPs to be held accountable if they are not given the resources to perform.
Campbell said despite the difficulties, however, he has been able to carry out several projects to the benefit of his constituency.
“So I really think that we need to empower the persons, give them the responsibility and the ability to do something about it so that they can be held accountable,” he pleaded.
He said there should also be an examination of the allocations as constituencies vary in size and needs.
According to Campbell, some Corporate Area constituencies can be traversed in an hour, while those in the rural areas take hours to traverse from community to community because of bad roads and other infrastructure deficit.
MP for St Elizabeth South Western Floyd Green nodded in agreement.