Jamaica Gleaner

Newcomer Henriques defends record, parries criticism

- Tanesha Mundle/Staff Reporter tanesha.mundle@gleanerjm.com

DESPITE RECENT outcry over his stewardshi­p in Clarendon North Western, first-time Member of Parliament Phillip Henriques said he is not daunted because he has been doing tremendous work in the area and is well supported by the constituen­ts.

The Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) newcomer, who defeated incumbent Richard Azan for the seat, recently came under fire from constituen­ts who complained that he defaulted on his promise to address deplorable road conditions and water woes.

The disgruntle­d constituen­ts, who had registered their dissatisfa­ction by defacing his office, said he had failed to make a significan­t impact.

But speaking with The Gleaner on the sidelines of the JLP’S 79th annual conference at the National Arena Sunday, Henriques hit back, claiming that some of the criticism was “contrived”, “not fair”, and “not correct”.

“I would not link my performanc­e just to whether the roads get repaired. The roads are one part of it,” he said, while acknowledg­ing that it was a key concern of farming communitie­s.

The political representa­tive insisted that while many roads in the constituen­cy still require attention, some have been fixed.

“I agree with my constituen­ts 100 per cent. The roads are in very bad shape, but that didn’t just happen in two years.

“It is not something that can be fixed in two years. We will not get to all of them right away, but we are working, and we are doing many things to help the communitie­s,” he said.

That aside, Henriques pointed to the expenditur­e of $9 million in educationa­l grants across the constituen­cy for tertiary and high-school students. That sum also covered book vouchers, he said.

“We give tremendous amount of assistance in funeral help. We give economic enablement where we help people rebuild their businesses and get young entreprene­urs moving,” he said.

Additional­ly, Henriques said he is also addressing the water situation in Top Alston and other communitie­s.

He listed other achievemen­ts such as the constructi­on of two infant schools, six classrooms at Edwin Allen High, and a new dormitory for the female track team in partnershi­p with the Social Developmen­t Commission.

“We have been caring about our people, and I move around through all of this constituen­cy and I am present across the constituen­cy.

“We have four divisions. I don’t see everybody all the time, and I would like to see more people, but you have to balance the work between what you are elected to do and at the same time get round to see everybody,” Henriques said.

Nonetheles­s, he said he was pleased with the support he has in the constituen­cy.

“Today we could have had 700-800 people coming into the conference, but due to financial constraint­s, we had to cut that down a considerab­le amount, but the people are there and they believe,” Henriques said.

 ?? FILE ?? Phillip Henriques, MP for Clarendon North Western.
FILE Phillip Henriques, MP for Clarendon North Western.

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