REECE Chipman, the Free National Movement’s candidate for Centreville, has challenged Prime Minister Perry Christie to a debate over the constituency he has represented for the past 40 years, an area he said is “hurting” from neglect.
In a statement released on Friday, Mr Chipman said it is obvious that Mr Christie is “unaware” of the many issues facing his constituency.
He said some area residents still do not have indoor bathrooms or running water and electricity.
“I would like to debate him on what has been done and what he intends to do for the communities of East Street, Farm Road and Centreville,” Mr Chipman said. “I am not sure he realises that yes, we still have outside toilets, yes, we have eight government assisted housing and apartment buildings that are not being taken care of by their landlords. Yes, we have many persons without light and water, and yes many persons who are homeless and most importantly directionless.
“I would like to challenge him on the work of his street generals/community leaders and campaign team (about) whether or not the community benefits in the way that it should,” Mr Chipman continued. “He should be challenged on his record of representation, and whether homes can show, if, any kind of benefit that came from his representation. I would challenge him to take on a different community at his age and stage in life, as this one requires a lot of work.
“I would like to challenge his Urban Renewal record in the area, his NEMA record in the area, and most importantly his record of knowledge as to exactly who lives in his communities, the types of people, their way of life, their pain, their struggles, their needs. The rate of poverty, the rate of child mortality and obesity. The rate of crime, oh and need I forget, the rate of recidivism. I thank God for this opportunity to assist as many people as I can, in any way that I can.”
Mr Chipman also suggested that with the money allocated for Mr Christie’s constituency allowance, the area should be flourishing.
“I would like to challenge the incumbent on the use of the budget for Centreville, $30,000 per year for a community office, $100,000 per year for the waste removal, garbage collection and other community needs, the more than $200,000 per year allocated for schools in the community, and most importantly, the more than $500,000 collected at Fort Fincastle Heritage Park,” he said.
“With this type of money, our community should be flourishing, more community jobs, better education facilities, more small business assistance, better health facilities, proper waste management and garbage collection. Adequate housing, better managed Urban Renewal and developmental programmes.
“The health of the community is at stake, as many are stricken with chronic illnesses, and debilitating diseases. Centreville, East Street, and Farm Road are hurting. Hurting from neglect, misrepresentation and the death of our hope, our spirits and our dreams. The community of Centreville is sad, sad because they have put so much into their son of the soil, but now has to remove him. Farm Road and East Street are looking for change, a community pregnant with potential.”
Mr Christie has represented the area since 1977.