Member of Parliament Ann-Marie Vaz, MP hosted her inaugural constituency Townhall in the Port Antonio Division on Wednesday Night at the Boundbrook Infant School.
Deplorable roads, unemployment, and the lack of water were some of the concerns raised by business operators, stakeholders, and other residents, at a Constituency Development Fund – CDF (CDF) constituency consultation meeting in East Portland on Wednesday.
The meeting, which was held at Boundbrook Infant school, was the second for Member of Parliament (MP), Annmarie Vaz, since her victory at the polls on April 4. It was also aimed at sensitizing the constituents about the CDF allocation of $20 million ($20,000,000) and its intended use.
Director of the CDF, Kenesha Campbell, who sought to ensure that those present in the audience were provided with the facts about the CDF and its spending towards community development, spoke at length about how the money is spent, and the importance of having on board the varied implementing agencies.
“These agencies are important as it relates to the CDF and as such they are the key players, “commented Kenesha Campbell, Director of CDF.
She continued “Before the MP can spend that $20 million, there are some mandatory categories. Out of that $20 million, $1.5 million is used to administer the fund; $500,000 for Labour Day, $1 million each for Emergency and Welfare and Social Housing, and $3.5 maximum for beautification.
“$5 million for education. So there is a lot to be done with the CDF. You now know and have a basic idea as to how the money is allocated to the respective areas.since. The MP does not touch a penny of that money, but rather it is the implementing state run agencies that handles that aspect of it.”.
The agencies, which overseas the disbursement of the CDF includes the Municipal Corporation, National Water Commission, National Works Agency, Social Development commission, and the Ministry of Health..
Campbell pointed out that while she understands the concern for roads, the CDF does not have sufficient money to spend on roads. She noted that they try to be as creative as possible, so as to stretch the funds, as they seek to make communities better.
And for her part, MP Vaz pledged to address the many concerns raised by constituents at the meeting, while admitting that her role as a parliamentarian is new to her, she confessed that she is eager to learn.
“This not about Annmarie Vaz, this is about the people of East Portland. Whatever I do it is to benefit the people of East Portland, “said the MP.
“I am taking my time to learn it, because I want to get it right. The people of this constituency have suffered long enough for lack of water, lack of roads, lack of opportunities and a lack of hope. I have to give account for every cent and I want to be held accountable. I myself am frustrated at the time it takes to get the benefits to individuals. I want to ensure that the lives and living condition of every person in this constituency is improved, “she concluded
The implementing agencies were commended for their role of, which according to Campbell, allows for transparency and accountability in projects undertaking.
Vaz, who spoke at length also lists her achievements since her triumph at the polls, which included restoration of water supply to Norwich Heights and Stony Hill; ongoing road work at Nonsuch, Spring Bank, Janga Gully, Rice Peas, Anchovy Scheme, Library Road ; beautification of the beach area extending from Titchfield to Allan Avenue; rehabilitation of bus stop at Foreshore; construction of a new bridge at East Palm Avenue/Prospect, and the payment of tuition for university students.