Live-wire Member of Parliament Everald Warmington has charged that the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) has not been fulfilling its mandate and has suggested that its budget be slashed drastically.
Warmington, who also accused JSIF of victimising him because he is a member of the Jamaica Labour Party, said the funds should be given to a more deserving agency.
"If I was wearing an orange shirt, it would be different," Warmington said as he spoke to the manner in which JSIF refused to do a water project in his South West St Catherine constituency.
However, the partisan characterisation irked Portia Simpson Miller, the leader of the opposition, who said the head of JSIF, Scarlette Gillings, is a "serious professional" and urged Warmington to withdraw the comment. He obliged.
Prime Minister Bruce Golding said a report on the projects done by JSIF was to be tabled in the Parliament shortly. He said that from his recollection, seven constituencies have never benefited from JSIF funds.
The prime minister also said JSIF has to follow certain rules as a result of the funding arrangements it has entered with foreign partners.
He agreed with Dr Peter Phillips, opposition spokesman on finance, that if a review of the way in which JSIF operates is to be undertaken, the matter of partisan political parity should not be taken on board.
JSIF was established in 1996 as a component of the Government's national poverty alleviation strategy.
The fund was designed primarily to channel resources to small-scale community-based projects.