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MPs get $1m Xmas gift from PM, Cabinet

Wednesday, December 18, 2013 | 8:41 AM    

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KINGSTON, Jamaica -- Members of Parliament (MPs) will each receive $1 million, between now and March 31, next year, to assist vulnerable constituents.

In making the announcement in the House of Representatives, Tuesday, Minister of Labour and Social Security, Derrick Kellier, said that the programme was approved by Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller and her Cabinet on Monday.

“Seventy five million dollars will be made available, within current budgetary provisions, and will be directed towards easing the plight of those vulnerable groups and empowering them to be more productive,” Kellier told the House.

“These funds will be provided through the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, which will have administrative and accounting responsibility for the implementation of the project, which will be undertaken during the period December, 2013 to March, 2104,” he said.

He said that the money will finance projects such as: the beautification of public spaces; entrepreneurial ventures; and provision of compassionate grants.

“The Ministry will collaborate with each Member of Parliament for the identification of beneficiaries and projects. Each MP will be allocated $1 million, and will make their recommendations directly to the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry. The recommendations will be investigated by the Ministry’s social workers to ensure that the projects are productive, meaningful and viable,” Kellier stated.

Approximately 3,500 beneficiaries are being targeted for assistance under the programme. The amount allocated to each will be determined by the “pertinent details of individual projects”, he explained.

Each MP received a letter Tuesday giving details of the programme, along with the prescribed form for submitting the names of beneficiaries and projects.

Kellier asked for the full cooperation of all MPs, to that the project could, in a significant way, “redound to the benefit of the people and the country on a whole”.

Balford Henry

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