Minister Without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Daryl Vaz, is dismissing claims made by the People’s National Party that the government is using state funds for political campaigns, particularly in the South East St. Mary by-election.
In a release, Mr. Vaz, says the constant complaining by the PNP is an indicator that things are not going in their favour in South East St. Mary.
He stated that the Tourism Enhancement Fund’s (TEF) funding of the all island maintenance program, through the National Solid Waste Management Authority and the Tourism Product Development Company is not an election ploy particularly due to the fact that it has been happening since 2007.
Mr. Vaz said the application for the bulky waste material removal from the NSWMA was received on September 22 and that the TEF project’s committee was presented with the project at their monthly meeting yesterday.
He added that the project will now be presented to the TEF board of directors which will meet on October 28 during the fund’s annual retreat.
Mr. Vaz says based on the timeline the project will fall outside the by-elections.
And, Chairman of the NSWMA, Dennis Chung says an internal investigation is being conducted into allegations made by the PNP of the agency raiding the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) of nearly $30 m.
Earlier this week, the PNP says it had written to the Political Ombudsman, the Contractor General and the Auditor General requesting an urgent investigation into an initiative to move funds from the TEF to implement the removal of bulky waste and clearing of illegal dump sites in St. Mary.
The PNP says the Jamaica Labour Party government is using state funds under the programme to buy votes leading up to the October 30 by-election.
In response, Mr. Chung says the NSWMA has always been working with the TEF to conduct several projects, however he has started an investigation into the matter to ensure transparency.
Mr. Chung says if the PNP has evidence of the NSWMA using state funds wrongfully he would welcome it.