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Tardy MPs could cost constituencies much-needed money

Published:Sunday | June 26, 2016 | 12:00 AMJovan Johnson

The Constituency Development Fund (CDF) Committee could take a vote soon that might see constituencies represented by tardy members of parliament (MPs) penalised by having funds set aside for them go towards other constituencies with proactive elected representatives.

The issue was raised at a recent meeting of the committee that approves projects for constituencies.

Committee Chairman Everald Warmington announced that the vote could not be taken at the time amid the pleas of North Western Clarendon MP Richard Azan.

Azan was reacting to the confirmation from head of the CDF Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister, Moveta Munroe, who said some MPs had not submitted any projects for their constituencies after months of being invited to do so.

"There are some who have not submitted any, (but) at this point, I wouldn't be able to tell you the numbers or who they are. Maybe they have a plan for how they want to deal with their CDF funding; maybe they want it late down in the year," she said.

"I would like to see projects up and running. But a number of consultations have not been held. We have to tighten up," she said, reiterating that her office was assessed against the background of consultations MPs hold with their constituents.

Munroe also noted that there could be administrative issues because of the late submissions of project proposals.

According to her, the late submissions may force the CDF Unit or the parliamentary committee to meet outside their schedules to consider the projects.

On that point, Azan declared that the committee needed to set an "example". "If MPs were notified from as early as March to submit their projects and they refuse from submitting their projects, I don't think we should meet outside just only to facilitate those members."




Warmington, noting that he was glad Azan shared his views, said over his nine years on the committee, MPs have consistently been tardy in submitting their project proposals.

"We shouldn't have special meetings to facilitate lackadaisical members. The director always says we shouldn't allow the constituents to suffer. But if we really address it in the fashion whereby the members understand the importance, then the constituency ought to punish them," he argued.

"If you have MPs who submit all their programmes like early, and in three-quarter(s) of the period you have MPs who still have funds that they have not requested or submit programmes, there should be a method whereby those funds can be dispersed to those members who are attentive to their constituencies."

Azan said he agreed and asked that the matter be put to a vote.

Warmington said "not yet", adding that he wanted to have the full committee in attendance.

This fiscal year, the CDF has allocated more than $20 million to each of the 63 MPs.