THE EDITOR, Sir: WITH REGARD to the article published in The Gleaner on November 9, 2016, I, Dwayne Vaz, would like to shed some light on this matter. Based on the headline, ‘Committee rejects MP’s request to buy food for ceremony’, many would have assumed that I submitted a project to buy food for an opening ceremony. This was definitely not the case. Let me outline the facts:
1. A sports project for $1 million was submitted to the Constituency Development Fund (CDF). The project was declined by the CDF Parliamentary committee for two items, namely refreshments for opening ceremony at a cost of $18,800 and public address system for both opening and closing ceremony at a total cost of $30,000.00. Please note that these items take up less than five per cent (5%) of the total budget. Thus, to use such as a headline was very misleading and mischievous.
2. I was a constituency consultant from 2009 until I became member of parliament (MP). Every sports project I had submitted to the CDF then had the same two items: refreshments and PA system in the budget. No project had ever been rejected.
3. There is a sports project being implemented in the constituency as we speak. This project was submitted earlier this year for netball and domino competitions. This project also had the items of refreshments and PA system in the budget. It was approved and funds disbursed.
4. As a constituency consultant and now MP, I was never at any point made aware that items such as refreshments and PA systems were not to be included in the budget for projects.
5. Every constituency reports to a CDF officer, who goes through each project to ensure all is satisfactory before recommending it to the CDF parliamentary committee. This project in question was recommended by the CDF Officer.
I must also state that the comments made by committee chairman Mr Warmington that was recorded in The Gleaner, and I quote, “Clubs should sell bottles to buy refreshments for guests.” This was unfortunate, distasteful and rude and must be retracted. This is a constituency competition where clubs are invited to participate, thus, it should not be the responsibility of clubs to provide refreshments for guests at an opening ceremony.
With the above-mentioned being said, I stand to declare that this article is pompously mischievous, blatantly misleading, and is a play of politics. I challenge The Gleaner to get information from the CDF on all sporting projects for all constituencies, review all budgets and then make a judgement. I guarantee that you will find many projects, then and now approved with those said items. Please be reminded that there should be no singling out circumstances for particular areas, whether it be special treatment or non-treatment. DWAYNE VAZ Member of Parliament