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Pressure still on for NHT board to resign over Outameni purchase

Published:Tuesday | November 11, 2014 | 12:30 PM

Jovan Johnson, Gleaner Writer

KINGSTON, Jamaica:

Civil society advocates are still insisting the National Housing Trust (NHT) board should be sanctioned over the purchase of a failing tourist attraction instead of investing in the provision of cheap housing for Jamaicans.

Amid mounting pressure to resign, the NHT board met for six hours yesterday and emerged defending its decision to use contributors’ money to buy the bankrupt Outameni Experience attraction in Trelawny.

Following the meeting, board member Percival LaTouche said spending $180 million dollars to buy the attraction, with a further $111 million required for refurbishing work, may be the best buy in the NHT’s history.

However, Dennis Meadows, the co-convener of Citizens’ Action for Principle and Integrity (CAPI) says the acquisition of a failing tourist entity is unacceptable.

He also notes that there has been a change in the reasons given for the purchase.

Initially, the NHT chairman Easton Douglas said the property was bought for tourism and cultural purposes.

However, in a television interview following yesterday's meeting, board member Lambert Brown suggested the land was bought for housing development.

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


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