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CDF unit to train project consultants

Published:Thursday | March 15, 2012 | 12:00 AM

Erica Virtue, Senior Gleaner Writer

THE UNIT overseeing the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) is to conduct training seminars for consultants to members of parliament in a bid to speed up the rate of project approvals by the committee.

Pauline Scott-Blair, assistant director and project development specialist based at the Office of the Prime Minister, said the seminars were necessary in order to assist first-time members of parliament, especially those without the services of a project consultant.

Speaking with The Gleaner following Tuesday's final meeting of the committee for the financial year, Scott-Blair said it was clear that training was needed.

"You must remember that because the end of the financial year came so close to the general election, some of the new MPs in particular would not have had the benefit of consultants,"she told The Gleaner.

The decision came after former chairman of the parliamentary committee, Everald Warmington, said the committee should advise members of parliament on proper procedures in submitting project documents.

Concerns were raised after "improper invoices" were submitted on behalf of committee member Arnaldo Brown, member of parliament for St Catherine East Central.

Committee chair Dr D.K. Duncan asked another member, Mikael Phillips, to have consultations with Brown to assist him with project submission.

Brown has admitted that he is without the services of a consultant as, despite identifying such a person, he has yet to receive word from the CDF unit on whether a firm can be contracted to provide the service.

No estimates were provided by the National Works Agency, which is the implementing agency for a project from member of parliament in St James West Central, Sharon Ffolkes-Abrahams.

The project, which was approved from 2010, will have to be carried over into the new financial year.

Scott-Blair said the training would commence before the end of April, as the new financial year starts on April 1, 2012.