KINGSTON, Oct. 15 (JIS): Members of Parliament have been allocated $126 million for clean-up activities with each constituency to receive $2 million.
The amount is part of $500 million earmarked by Government for the National Health Emergency Response to the Chikungunya Virus (CHIK V), including elimination of mosquito breeding sites.
Already, $150 million has been set aside for the Health Ministry to meet “some critical emergency needs”.
Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, who gave a breakdown of the allocation at a meeting with Parliamentarians at Jamaica House on Tuesday
(October 14), said that $70 million will go to Parish Councils, with each parish receiving $5 million; while the remaining $154 million will be utilized for additional clean-up activities and mosquito vector control.
She informed that $131 million was already provided from the Consolidated Fund to the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) to deal with the backlog in the collection of garbage.
The programme of emergency clean-up is being co-ordinated by a team involving the Ministry of Health, Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), Jamaica Defence Force (JDF), the Jamaica Emergency Employment Programme (JEEP) Secretariat, and the Ministry of Finance and Planning.
The Prime Minister said logistics co-ordination will be led by the JDF’s Colonel Daniel Pryce, while administrative arrangements, including project registration and payments, will be spearheaded by JEEP Project Director, Lucille Brodber.
She said that by virtue of the JEEP Secretariat being located in the Ministry of Transport, Works, and Housing, Portfolio Minister, Dr. the Hon. Omar Davies, will have line responsibility for the clean-up exercise.
Health Minister, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson continues to lead the health response, with Information Minister, Senator the Hon. Sandrea Falconer to Chair the Monitoring Group and to report directly to the Prime Minister as well as to the country on a regular basis.
Pointing out that “all stakeholders have a vital role to play” in the initiative, the Prime Minister commended Parliamentarians, whom she said, have been active in engaging constituents, stressing that the “only sustainable way to control and reduce the epidemic…is to destroy and reduce mosquito breeding sites.”
This, she added, by starting with the “worst affected areas”, as indicated by the mapping that has been done by the Health Ministry.
Dr. Ferguson, in welcoming the Prime Minister’s leadership in the initiative, said execution of the project in each parish will be done in collaboration with public health field staff, to ensure that the Aedes Aegypti mosquito and their breeding sites are destroyed.
“The fact is…we (want to) contain it, especially in the parishes most impacted…while you prevent areas that have not been impacted, from having any real incident or expanded numbers. That is why the decision was taken to give some seed funding to the Parish Councils and to Members of Parliament, working with the health team, to ensure that we hit the breeding sites. As representatives of the people, I have absolutely no doubt that you would have a better grasp of what is happening on the ground,” he stated.
Dr. Ferguson encouraged them to ensure that value is received for the money spent.
“We will be depending on all of you to get out there (and ensure that) the question of value for money…(is) a top priority. It cannot be just a work programme…we must get value for money. I appeal to Members of Parliament, Mayors (and councillors), to take the lead in our parishes,” he urged.