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Fate of NHT board could be decided at special meeting

Published:Monday | November 10, 2014 | 11:48 AM
National Housing Trust building in Kingston. - File

Jovan Johnson, Gleaner Writer

KINGSTON, Jamaica:

The fate of the embattled board of the National Housing Trust (NHT) and its chairman Easton Douglas could be determined today at a special meeting as public outrage over its purchase of a failing tourist attraction continues to grow.

Board member and trade unionist, Lambert Brown confirmed that the meeting is scheduled to take place at noon.

However, he refused to disclose the purpose of the meeting.

The NHT has been facing heavy criticism over its decision in 2013, to purchase the Outameni Experience attraction for $180 million with a further $111 million to be spent on refurbishing work.

The NTH’s management has defended the decision saying it is an investment.

However, the Opposition and numerous civil society groups have condemned it as a wrong move at a time when more Jamaicans are in need of affordable housing.

The Private Sector Organisation of the Jamaica and the Jamaica Manufacturers Association have called for the contractor general and the auditor general to probe the matter.

A copy of the minutes of a meeting in which the decision as taken revealed that the NHT chairman, Easton Douglas ignored a report from an internal body which indicated that the purchase was out of the trust’s mandate to provide affordable housing solutions.

Meanwhile, Sarah Manley, the daughter of former Prime Minister Michael Manley whose administration established the NHT, has characterised the purchase as scandalous and outrageous.

The Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller is expected to answer questions tomorrow posed by the Opposition Leader Andrew Holness on the purchase.


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