JAS, CDF at odds over project implementation
SOUTH WEST St Catherine Member of Parliament (MP) Everald Warmington on Tuesday resisted attempts by the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS) to become an implementing agency for some projects funded by the Constituency Development Fund (CDF).
The MP revealed that the JAS had sent letters to the 63 MPs advising them that it was available to implement agricultural projects.
According to Warmington, the letter stated: "The Board of Management of the JAS is happy to advise that we are available to offer the service of implementing projects under the CDF in the framework of agricultural development."
At a meeting of the CDF committee in Gordon House, Warmington told his colleague parliamentarians that the JAS had no memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the CDF Project Management Unit (PMU) in the Office of the Prime Minister.
"As far as I am concerned, there is no MOU between the CDF unit and the JAS for implementing projects, so MPs need to be advised that this society is not an implementing agency," he said.
"MPs may be misled into sending projects to the JAS," Warmington cautioned.
However, in a Gleaner interview, JAS president, Senator Norman Grant, said his organisation was unmoved by the controversial MP's comments.
"We are not daunted by the fact that MP Warmington has expressed a view and an opinion, which he is entitled to. I am disappointed that he is trying to use his own view to influence the other members," Senator Grant declared.
He said the JAS had implemented agricultural projects for councillors and MPs. Grant noted that the JAS had the capacity to implement these projects.
"Our next step is to engage the CDF unit in the Office of the Prime Minister to indicate that we have tremendous value to add to the process as we seek to advance agriculture," he said.
Pauline Scott-Blair, project development specialist at the CDF PMU, told the committee that she was not aware that the unit had an MOU with the agricultural group.
Mikael Phillips, who deputised for Dr D.K. Duncan as chairman, advised that the unit should hold talks with the JAS before approaching MPs to implement projects.