Mon | Dec 5, 2016

PM prepares to act - Cabinet to meet on fate of NHT board Monday

Published:Saturday | November 22, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller

THE CONTROVERSY bedevilling the Government following more than two weeks of intense national debate on the purchase of the Outameni property in Trelawny refuses to go away, with Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller preparing to take action on the composition of the National Housing Trust (NHT) board after she meets with Cabinet on Monday.

An announcement is expected to be made after the meeting, addressing the future of the Trust's board of directors.

A statement issued by the Office of the Prime Minister yesterday said Simpson Miller acknowledged that the current public debate surrounding the Outameni purchase has resulted in the resignation of some board members.

Two members of the board - Kavan Gayle, an opposition senator and trade unionist, and fellow trade unionist Helene Davis White - resigned earlier this week.

BOARD CRIPPLED

It is understood that another board member, Brenda Cuthbert, resigned yesterday.

With the resignation of Cuthbert, the board does not have the minimum nine members required to operate.

According to the prime minister, the resignations have implications for the continuation of the work of the board in giving oversight to the NHT in carrying out its functions.

Simpson Miller also said the Government would continue to ensure that the NHT fulfils its mandate of increasing and improving the existing supply of housing, promoting housing projects, creating affordable housing solutions for low-income contributors, as well as prudently administering and investing the monies of the Trust.

The opposition Jamaica Labour Party has called for the resignation or sacking of the Easton Douglas-chaired NHT board.

In responses to calls from several private-sector groups to investigate the deal, Auditor General Pamela Monroe-Ellis sent her team of auditors to conduct a probe into the purchase of the Orange Grove property in Trelawny for $180 million.

The Office of the Contractor General has also been asked to carry out its own probe.