Portia: NHT has acquired Outameni property, not the attraction
Opposition parliamentarians have declared that there appears to be an attempt to mislead Jamaicans on the purpose of the purchase of the Outameni Experience by the National Housing Trust (NHT).
This afternoon the opposition members of the House of Representatives insisted that there were conflicting explanations given by members of the NHT board and the prime minister as she answered questions about the purchase.
Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller had earlier disclosed that she only became aware of the purchase of the property through the media but said this was not unusual as her ministerial responsibilities do not extend to the day-to-day operations of the Trust.
She also explained that the NHT has not acquired the attraction Outameni Experience, but the property, a generator, fuel tank and office furniture.
Simpson Miller said it was never intended to be operated as an attraction.
Simpson Miller also disclosed that the $180 million price tag was significantly lower than the appraised value and the forced sale value of $233 million.
However, the Opposition members were not satisfied with her answers.
Opposition spokesman on finance, Audley Shaw, insisted there were grey areas in the purchase as, based on the valuation documents, the price included the purchase of the entire attraction and not just land.
He also pointed to a document which stated that the NHT board had been looking to reopen the Outameni attraction in 2014.
And Opposition MP, Daryl Vaz said the explanations given by the board members and Simpson Miller were in conflict.
The Prime minister countered that there is no mention of the sales agreement of the Outameni Experience, but Orange Grove, which is the name of the property.
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