First-time MPs pursuing educational programmes
Edmond Campbell, Senior Staff Reporter
DESPITE VARIOUS challenges facing their constituents, several first-time members of parliament are reporting successes in the implementation of a number of educational projects in their constituencies.
Speaking at a Gleaner Editors' Forum at the newspaper's North Street headquarters in Central Kingston, Member of Parliament (MP) for East Central St Catherine Arnaldo Brown said more than $1 billion had been spent in his constituency on education initiatives since 2011.
He also highlighted skills-training opportunities for his constituents, who benefit from free tractor training under the Sugar Transformation Programme.
Brown said he prepared a manifesto for his constituency that extends beyond the first five-year political cycle. He indicated that his first term in office would not be sufficient to roll out his plans for the period. "Don't try to tell people you are going to do something when it is not feasible," Brown reasoned.
North West St Ann MP Dr Dayton Campbell said in addition to infrastructure projects, health care and educational projects had been given priority in his constituency.
He stressed that efforts have been made to empower young people in his constituency through the setting up of training centres in each division.
Campbell said more than 500 persons graduated from various skills-training programmes in November last year while a second batch numbering more than 1,000 are currently being trained.
He said HEART Trust/NTA is providing support in terms of preparing the trainees for employment. Some trainees benefit from internship programmes in the hotels in the parish.
Noting that there was no single solution for the unemployment problem, Campbell said the approach had to be one of working with constituents to create more jobs rather than persons depending on others to create it for them.
St Andrew West Rural MP Paul Buchanan has worked with HEART Trust/NTA to provide training in information technology for his constituents. "I have staked out IT and I am getting the young people in droves," he said.