Kingston and St An­drew take lion’s share of CHASE Fund spend

Jamaica Gleaner - - NEWS - Erica Virtue/ Se­nior Gleaner Writer

WITH 600 ac­tive projects un­der way, Kingston and St An­drew have taken the lion’s share of fi­nan­cial con­tri­bu­tion, as well as the num­ber of funded projects from the Cul­ture, Health, Arts, Sci­ence and Ed­u­ca­tion (CHASE) Fund in its 15 years of op­er­a­tion, ex­ec­u­tives of the agency told a re­cent Gleaner Edi­tors’ Fo­rum.

The CHASE Fund, which is fi­nanced from the taxes from lot­tery win­nings, has seen in­creased rev­enues in all but three years since its in­cep­tion in 2002. The agency has, as per its man­date, made sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tions to sports and early child­hood devel­op­ment, as well as health, arts and cul­ture.

The en­tity has not been stingy with rev­enues, do­nat­ing bil­lions of dol­lars in to­tal to the sec­tors to which it is con­sti­tu­tion­ally re­quired to make con­tri­bu­tions, in­clud­ing the Sports Devel­op­ment Foun­da­tion, which has re­ceived 38 per cent of the $14.8b dis­bursed by CHASE since in­cep­tion.

CHASE Chair­man Phillip Hen­riques de­scribed him­self as a board mem­ber for the ma­jor­ity of the years the agency has been in op­er­a­tion. Now, in his sec­ond stint as chair­man, he said CHASE’s reach al­lows it to im­pact all ar­eas of the so­ci­ety and its good-cause man­date has given ben­e­fits to de­served projects.

“Good cause is part of our man­date. Orig­i­nally, as we were set up with taxes for­gone from Supreme Ven­tures, the Gov­ern­ment put the tax money into CHASE for the pur­pose of hav­ing some­thing to show the pub­lic this is where their tax dol­lars have gone from the gam­bling in­dus­try,” Hen­riques told the fo­rum.

“We choose projects be­cause we go out there and look for them and also projects come to us. We choose them on a broad ba­sis be­cause of our man­date, one of which is early child­hood ed­u­ca­tion, and within that sec­tor we have a series of cat­e­gories we look at,” he told the fo­rum.

Hen­riques said that the pri­mary po­si­tion of the en­tity is to show that ev­ery­one across the coun­try is likely to ben­e­fit from a CHASE-con­trib­uted project.

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