Opposition Senator Kamina Johnson-Smith has questioned whether the board of the National Housing Trust (NHT) will hold itself responsible for agreeing to a $45-billion grant to the Government without detailed analysis on its impact.
Speaking in the Senate on Friday, Johnson-Smith said the actions of the board flies in the face of good governance.
She pointed to a statement made by NHT Chairman Easton Douglas at a recent Jamaica House press conference in which he said no projections have been done for surplus beyond this fiscal year.
"This raises the questions that this chamber should be considering seriously," Johnson-Smith said.
"Will the board hold itself responsible as the country seeks more and more examples of good governance?" she added.
Ensuring NHT growth
Minister of Justice Senator Mark Golding, in piloting the National Housing Trust (Special Provisions) Act 2013, said the Government will ensure that the NHT continues to grow and flourish in the interest of the Jamaican people.
Golding said the NHT "has a very strong balance sheet, as it has received decades of contributions from employees and employers and has built up a large portfolio of liquid investments and an even larger portfolio of revolving mortgage loans."
The Trust, he said, has an accumulated surplus of $88 billion and annual net flows of $39 billion from contributions, income from investments, and loan repayments.
Johnson-Smith said the debate in the Lower House on the bill was characterised by "arrogance and dismissiveness" on the part of the Government. She said, if the Senate does not draw the line and determine good governance, the country is doom.
In the meantime, the bill was passed without any objection from the Opposition when it was put to the vote by president of the Senate, the Reverend Stanley Redwood.
Leader of Opposition Business Arthur Williams had called for a divide when the question was put to the Senate for the bill to be read a second time. The resulting divide had nine persons voting 'yes', five voting 'no' and opposition senator Kavan Gayle abstaining.
With the ayes in the majority, the bill proceeded to committee stage and was thereafter put to the vote. The Opposition did not challenge.
Having been passed in the House of Representatives, the bill will now go the the governor general to be signed into law.