Tue | Dec 6, 2016

Former NHT chairman criticises agency's Outameni investment

Published:Tuesday | November 4, 2014 | 12:00 AM

The former chairman of the National Housing Trust (NHT), Howard Mitchell, says the agency's investment in the Outameni tours and entertainment project raises questions of fiduciary responsibility, prudence and governance.

He says at the very least the issue should have gone to Parliament.

Mitchell says the country already has a significant housing crisis and a decision must now be taken about whether the NHT is going to play a major role in resolving that or if it simply going to be a bailout box for the government of the day.

He says the demand for housing has now exceeded 15,000 units per year.

Mitchell says the majority of this demand is by poor people, arguing that more than 600,000 persons have resorted to squatting, while others in inner-city communities are dying from various illnesses because they do not have adequate housing.

Outameni is an entertainment and tour business developed on the historic Orange Grove property, near to Falmouth, in Trelawny.

The 10-acre property was put on the market for $311 million, but NHT Chairman Easton Douglas says after an evaluation, the state-owned agency was able to acquire Outameni for $180 million.