KINGSTON, Jamaica - Member of Parliament (MP) for St Ann North Western, Krystal Lee, says hundreds of students benefitted from several educational programmes that were undertaken in the constituency.
She was addressing the State of the Constituency Debate, in the House of Representatives, recently.
“Through the Constituency Development Fund (CDF), we were able to contribute towards the educational upliftment of many. Over 600 students received book vouchers, 35 students received tablet devices, and there were 55 tertiary grants. With additional support from charities, we provided over 2,500 backpacks and school supplies, and contributed over $500,000 to the development of two new classroom spaces at the Brown’s Town Infant School,” she said.
Lee added that the two new classrooms will assist the institution towards getting certified by the Early Childhood Commission.
She noted that through sponsorship, over 800 back-to-school medicals were facilitated, free of cost, to parents.
“We endeavour to meet the welfare of our people, those in need of assistance and support, with funeral grants, purchasing of medical supplies, medical services, housing assistance and food supplies,” she said.
Meanwhile, she joined her parliamentary colleagues in asking for a review of the CDF. She argued that the need for support in various areas of human and infrastructural development remains relatively high.
“In most cases in my office, we are only able to meet five to 10 per cent of the requests that come in each year. The CDF was developed through extensive research and policy. Fifteen years ago, it was conceptualised that Members of Parliament would be allocated $40 million to assist in their community development activities. Fast forward to now, Members of Parliament are allocated $20 million. It is inconceivable that $20 million, which is half the amount, would be able to cover what was conceptualised then,” she said.
The CDF seeks to improve the effectiveness of Members of Parliament as a designated funding mechanism for constituency projects.
The main thrust of the fund is to promote human and infrastructure development at the community and constituency levels, through the establishment of sustainable development projects.
This will be done by streamlining economic activities at the constituency level; fostering local governance, including good environmental stewardship; improving service delivery and bringing government and the public closer together; and increasing the effectiveness of the elected representative.