JIS News

Work has commenced on a number of projects submitted by Members of Parliament (MPs) across the island for funding, under the Constituency Development Fund (CDF), announced by Prime Minister Bruce Golding earlier this year.
The CDF, which is funded from the national budget, provides a dedicated allocation for community development activities in each of the island’s 60 political constituencies, with elected representatives having primary responsibility for co-ordinating projects.
For this financial year, each MP will be allocated $40 million for development projects under the CDF.
Director of the CDF Programme Management Unit, Moveta Munroe, tells JIS News that the Parliamentary Committee established to review the projects, has approved the approximately 360 submissions received from the 60 Members of Parliament. The nine-man Committee is chaired by Finance and Public Service Minister, Audley Shaw, and comprises five government MPs, including State Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for the CDF, Shahine Robinson, and four from the Opposition.
Miss Munroe says the programme is intended to “promote human and infrastructure development at the community and constituency levels,” and at the end of the day, aims to improve the quality of life for individuals.
“This is to 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,” she adds.
She points out that an average of six projects were received from each MP, encompassing a broad area of activities. These include: road repairs, economic enablement, water projects, rural electrification, sports development, education/scholarship grants, assistance in purchasing school books, and general upgrading of bridges and other facilities. Projects, she further discloses, have also come in for the construction of facilities to be utilised as computer laboratories and homework centres, as well as rehabilitation of community centres.
These categories are consistent with the project heading stipulations, which Miss Munroe outlines, should comprise development; rehabilitation and maintenance of small scale community development; physical and social infrastructure; economic enablement; emergency; and welfare.
The programme’s activities are co-ordinated by the Unit, which was established in February this year, and operates out of the OPM. The staff includes one Project Manager Specialist, six Project Managers, strategically stationed across the island, and 14 Project Officers, one assigned to each parish.
Miss Munroe explains that each MP is required to hold consultations with their constituents/communities to discuss and determine the priority projects to be undertaken. Each representative, working along with the Unit’s managers and officers, are required to submit a five-year plan by September 30. Each MP is allowed to submit a minimum of five and a maximum of 20 projects per constituency for consideration and implementation. Additionally, all MPs are expected to work together to develop one main project for their parish.
“The CDF Unit has a role to monitor all of these projects, and ensure that they come in on time and within budget, and that we are getting the best value for the taxpayers’ dollars,” she informs.
“Based on the priorities, determined by the communities, the Members of Parliament, working along with the Project Manager and Officer from the CDF Unit assigned to their area, will develop the project document. These are then submitted to the Unit for vetting, and are passed to the Parliamentary Committee for approval. Once the Parliamentary Committee has approved the projects, they are then ready for dispatching to the implementing agency,” she outlines.
Miss Munroe says that thorough evaluations of the projects approved to date were conducted, with Project Managers and Officers seeking clarification from Members of Parliament on submissions, where necessary. In other cases, she says, referrals were made to government agencies with the relevant technical expertise for guidance.
Of the $40 million allocation, $8 million is made available in the first tranch, the CDF Director advises, adding that no money is being given to the MPs.
“All of the money is channeled through the agency that is responsible for implementing the projects and ensuring that the work is done,” she says.
These agencies include: the parish councils, National Works Agency (NWA), Rural Electrification Programme (REP), and HEART Trust /NTA.
Miss Munroe tells JIS News that all of the projects under the CDF that are being undertaken by the implementing agencies, are subject to the Government’s procurement guidelines, and the Financial Administration and Audit Act.
The CDF, she informs, is a replacement for the Social and Economic Support Programme (SESP).

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