Storm in a teacup

Jamaica Gleaner - - SOMETHING EXTRA - Ro­mario.scott@glean­erjm.com ro­mario.scott@glean­erjm.com

Warm­ing­ton re­buffs Azan’s claim of po­lit­i­cal vic­tim­i­sa­tion

HUR­RI­CANE MATTHEW, though not mak­ing land­fall in Ja­maica, has trig­gered a feisty row be­tween the Gov­ern­ment and the par­lia­men­tary Op­po­si­tion.

Everald Warm­ing­ton is hit­ting back at Richard Azan, op­po­si­tion spokesman for works, ac­cus­ing him of cre­at­ing mis­chief.

This af­ter Azan lashed out at Warm­ing­ton, state min­is­ter in the Min­istry of Eco­nomic Growth and Job Cre­ation with re­spon­si­bil­ity works, yes­ter­day.

A livid Azan ac­cused Warm­ing­ton of vic­tim­is­ing Peo­ple’s Na­tional Party (PNP) mem­bers of par­lia­ment (MPs) in the al­lo­ca­tion and dis­tri­bu­tion of drain-clean­ing funds.

He said Warm­ing­ton has presided over the is­suance of the funds to Ja­maica Labour Party (JLP) coun­cil­lors, by­pass­ing the po­lit­i­cally elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

“What we have picked up is that al­lo­ca­tions have been given to JLP coun­cil­lors where there is a PNP mem­ber of par­lia­ment,” charged Azan, mem­ber of par­lia­ment for North West Claren­don.

“Such ac­tions are in con­tra­ven­tion of the re­spected and ac­cepted norm of proper and ac­cepted gov­er­nance and should cease im­me­di­ately,” Azan said in a state­ment to the me­dia yes­ter­day.

Azan told The Gleaner that while the PNP was in of­fice, an al­lo­ca­tion was al­ways given to MPs for drain-clean­ing projects in prepa­ra­tion for the hur­ri­cane sea­son.

“This year, for the first time, there was no al­lo­ca­tion to any MP from the op­po­si­tion side,” com­plained Azan.

When The Gleaner con­tacted Warm­ing­ton about the is­sue, he first dis­closed that nei­ther JLP nor PNP MPs got any al­lo­ca­tion from his min­istry to do work in prepa­ra­tion for the hur­ri­cane sea­son.

AZAN

“The Na­tional Works Agency did the drain clean­ing. The funds were not allocated to MPs. They went out there and iden­ti­fied the drains [need­ing ur­gent clean­ing] in the 14 parishes and they cleaned them,” Warm­ing­ton said in re­buff­ing Azan’s as­ser­tions.

Azan, a former state min­is­ter in the Min­istry of Trans­port and Works, ar­gued that the ad­vance of $1 mil­lion from the Con­stituency De­vel­op­ment Fund that was made by the Gov­ern­ment had no spe­cific pur­pose. He poured cold wa­ter on the co­or­di­na­tion ef­forts of the min­istry.

“The prac­tice is that when you are go­ing to give out any work, an of­fi­cer is sup­posed to come and take a pic­ture be­fore and af­ter the work has been com­pleted,” Azan con­tended.

Asked Azan: “You get an al­lo­ca­tion on Friday af­ter­noon, which of­fi­cer is go­ing out there to take all of these pictures across the 63 con­stituen­cies?”

But Warm­ing­ton said the pre­hur­ri­cane sea­son funds that Azan men­tioned were “is­sued to PNP alone last year”.

Said the state min­is­ter: “We have never seen it. The JLP has never seen a dime.”

REESE

WARM­ING­TON

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