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Members of the press will now be able to cover proceedings of the parliamentary committee reviewing expenditure on projects under the Constituency Development Fund (CDF).
This was disclosed by Minister of State for Water and Housing and committee chairman, Hon. Everald Warmington during Tuesday’s (Oct.12) sitting of the House of Representatives.
Mr. Warmington explained that the committee was in contravention of the Standing Orders of Parliament in preventing the media from covering the proceedings.
“There has been a constant request by the press for access to this committee. Section 77 subsection six of the Standing Orders of the House that relates to select committees, states that except by an order from the House or the presentation of resolution to a committee, all select committees should be held in public,” Mr. Warmington said.
He added: “it was felt that the members needed some time to work into the programme and by that they eliminated the need for the outside scrutiny. So (now) the committee will be open to the press.”
“We do not have anything to hide, so the press can, as of now, attend our meetings and record the activities of the committee,” Mr. Warmington stated.
In his remarks, Leader of Opposition Business in the House of Representatives and committee member, Derrick Kellier, said that he is in support of the decision to allow the media to record the proceedings of the meetings.
“This is something we all support that the committee needs to be open to the scrutiny of the press, lest there be any misconceptions that we have something to hide, and obviously, we have nothing to hide,” Mr. Kellier said.
The objective of the CDF is to empower the Members of Parliament to respond to the needs and priorities articulated by their constituents, thereby achieving improved governance at the local level.
The main thrust of the Fund is to undertake projects that: promote human and infrastructure development at the community and constituency levels; catalyze economic activities at the constituency level; foster local governance including good environmental stewardship; improve service delivery; bring government and the people closer together; and increase the response capacity of the elected representatives.