Minister of Local Government Surujrattan Rambachan
Suruj: MP's $10m not for 'wine and jam' activities
and Trevor Watson
The multi-million-dollar fund to be allocated to each Member of Parliament would not be used for "wine and jam" activities, but for the development of the constituency, Minister of Local Government Surujrattan Rambachan said yesterday. And he gave the assurance that a committee would be established to monitor projects to ensure there is no misuse of funds.
Speaking at to the media during a tour of the Siparia market, Rambachan said, "You have the fact that legislation will be put in place for how these funds are audited and you have the Auditor General. You have the Integrity Commission which is there to ensure there is no misuse of the funds or (Members of Parliament) do not use funds for their own purposes. You have anti-corruption legislation, but apart from that you have the constituents. Now that the constituents know that you have $10 million is in the hands of the Member of Parliament, constituents are going to be empowered to ask how well that $10 million is being used in the interest for all the constituents."
Rambachan, accompanied by Minister of Works and former minister of local government, Chandresh Sharma, toured the Siparia, Penal and Marabella markets.
Rambachan said Members of Parliament can now be judged on the basis of performance in each constituency.
Government plan to include a $410 million package in the 2012-2013 national budget which will be divided equally among the Parliament's 41 members, for work in their respective constituencies.
"Members of Parliament are servants of the people. If you sit down in the office of a Member of Parliament like I do on a Saturday you will be pained to know that you do not have the power to deal with the problems that we know needs immediate redress," Rambachan said.
He said ten per cent of the allocation would be set aside to deal with natural disasters.