Opposition legislator Julian Fraser has said he is not pleased that after more than a year since its establishment, the Recovery & Development Agency (RDA) has still not been given the chance to operate as it should.
When the RDA was established last year, it was intended to support the government to execute the plans identified in its Recovery & Development Plan following the 2017 hurricanes.
The RDA’s role is to, among other things, raise funds, build capacity and execute projects smarter, stronger and greener.
However, Fraser has argued that the RDA has not executed any major projects to fulfil its mandate to date.
Addressing the issue at the recent sitting of the House of Assembly, Fraser said: “I am one of those people when it (the RDA) came up, I opposed it. It came up, it was established, now it is not getting the chance it needs because here it is still not doing what it was intended to do.”
Fraser, in the meantime, said the agency has spent millions thus far on operational costs.
“A total of $2.9 million has been expended for the year. You telling me that we brought in a Chief Executive Officer and paying him over $300,000 a year to run an operation to pick-up garbage from around the territory? That’s what they did. They had some trucks out there to pick-up garbage from around the territory.”
Locals should be given preference in job opportunities
Meanwhile, Fraser said locals should be given first preference to occupy positions at the RDA.
“They have a staff of 31 persons so far – eight persons contracted, eight seconded from government, five engineers, four senior quantity surveyors, two junior quantity surveyors, one environmentalist and two persons specialized in social work. This is 31. I am sure that they are looking for another 31 people. And by the time they are finished it must be over 60 persons hired by the RDA,” he said.
“Persons who are working for agencies like this should be our people. Just the same way the Premier took a delegation to the UK to discuss the loan guarantee, I expect him to ensure — when agencies like the RDA go and hire people — that they are our people they are hiring, and we get first preference,” Fraser added.
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