Sun | Dec 5, 2021

Put us in a position where we can effectively serve our constituents – Morrison

Published:Friday | October 22, 2021 | 12:05 AMChristopher Serju/Senior Gleaner Writer
Kerensia Morrison, member of parliament, St Catherine North Eastern, during her contribution to the 2021 Constituency Debate in Parliament on Tuesday.
Kerensia Morrison, member of parliament, St Catherine North Eastern, during her contribution to the 2021 Constituency Debate in Parliament on Tuesday.

MEMBER OF Parliament (MP) for St Catherine North Eastern Kerensia Morrison is finding out about the harsh realities of representational politics and the difficulties some of her constituents have in meeting some of the simple needs of life.

She is also finding out the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) allocation that all MPs receive, in her case, is woefully inadequate.

The first-time MP explained the difficulties of making CDF stretch to meet the many needs of her constituents, which sent the House into an uproar when she explained how she had been helping some ambitious youngsters.

“I have encouraged constituents who are having difficulty paying for CSEC (Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate examinations and CAPE (Caribbean Advanced Proficiency) to come to my office. Those who need help to pay for skills training, don’t just stay at home and say you can’t afford it and there is no hope. Find us, have a talk with us, because if I cannot find the money, I’ll call my prime minister… .”

The statement which caught Prime Minister Andrew Holness as well as the parliamentarians by surprise was greeted with sustained thunderous applause, as they vigorously beat their desks.

Minister of Finance Dr Nigel Clarke next found himself in her cross hairs.

“I know that there are many members of parliament who sometimes experience the stress, ‘cause you want to be able to assist some of your constituents but the resources sometimes just don’t allow you to be as effective as you would like to be. So Dr Clarke, you know that I am going to ask about the CDF allocation. Put us in a position where we can effectively serve our constituents… .”

SUSTAINED APPLAUSE

Before she could even finish the sentence, this time the sustained applause was from both sides of the aisle.

The issue of unplanned pregnancies and the multiplier effect it is having on the youth in her constituency was another issue raised by Morrison during her contribution to the Constituency Debate in the House of Representatives.

“A concern that I am having, and I spoke to Minister Cuthbert Flynn about, is that we need to roll out a strong family planning campaign. So that our young people can make wise decisions regarding family planning and how to protect themselves because very often the political directorate is called to help.

“How does one tell a young mother who is also pregnant that you can’t afford to buy food for her? You can’t buy the can of gas? It’s a real conversation that we need to have,” she told her colleagues.

The MP continues to be haunted by a remark from a woman in her constituency, while campaigning for the seat. Her request was simple; she wanted piped water.

“When I was campaigning a lady said to me: ‘Me grandmother carry water, me modda carry water, I carry water and me pickney dem carry water’.”

Explaining that the work was ongoing to address the water situation, Morrison suggested that the authorities start looking at water as a source of development for rural communities, in a more structured way.

“We find that in many of these communities there is a water source. So if we can find ways to channel the water from these sources to feed the community, we would be well on our way to water.”