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MSJ plans nationwide walkabout
The Movement for Social Justice (MSJ), led by David Abdulah, plans to host a series of nationwide walkabouts to highlight among other issues, the Government’s plans to set up an annual constituency fund of $10 million for each Member of Parliament. In a media release yesterday, the political party has criticised the People’s Partnership’s fund for the MPs, calling it “a thinly disguised strategy to buy votes with taxpayers’ money.”
The release stated: “The Movement for Social Justice is deeply troubled about the announcement made at the recent post-Cabinet briefing that the Government has agreed to set up an annual fund of ten million dollars for each MP serving in the Parliament.
“Thirty million dollars per MP in the hands of partisan politicians. If this is how constituency development is now to be promoted, it represents another indictment on the governance practices of the People’s Partnership Government and another complete repudiation of the policy positions articulated in the Manifesto of the Partnership, which manifesto is supposed to be government policy.”
The MSJ claims that it is the responsibility of agencies and bodies such as local government and WASA to the provide the services for which the Government claims the fund is for. MSJ believes that the fund will become another “make work scheme for party hacks and faithful, as well as means of shoring up party support in constituencies…” The danger, MSJ said, is that funds can easily be placed in the pockets of the MPs.
The party is calling on citizens to ask the Government where the funds will come from since T&T has been conducting deficit financing and will be doing so for the next four to five years. MSJ asked: “Is this money to be raised by selling out the patrimony of the country through privatisation of a number of state enterprises?”
The party also questioned whether the money will be gained through the reduction of programmes such as Government Assistance for Tuition Expenses (GATE) or fuel subsidies. The MSJ believes the real reason for the fund is to promote the continuance of the emasculation of local government and to “make citizens dependent on politicians for everything.”
The statement said: “The fund raises another issue and that is by manipulating the resources, those parties that now control a constituency by having an incumbent MP will have an unfair advantage over all that contest the East. “The very democratic process is therefore being redesigned by the UNC which has as its core philosophy—win elections and the ends justify the means. Citizens must reject this thinly disguised strategy to buy votes with taxpayers’ money.”
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