LETTER OF THE DAY - NHT purchase a violation of trust
THE EDITOR, Sir: The National Housing Trust Act states the following: (2) In the exercise of its functions, the Trust shall have power:
(a) to provide finance for -
(i) development projects undertaken by the Trust.
(ii) social services and physical infrastructure for communities developed under the projects.
(b) to administer and invest the monies of the Trust.
(c) to enter into loan agreements with borrowers.
to refinance, from time to time, subject to such restrictions and conditions as may be prescribed, mortgages held by members of any prescribed category of contributors.
to do such other things as may be advantageous, necessary or expedient for or in connection with the proper performance of its functions under this act.
The phrase "to do such other things as may be advantageous" appears to allow the Trust to interpret any action it takes as being of benefit to the organisation. The Trust, however, has to realise that it is responsible not to itself but to the people of Jamaica. It is ludicrous for a housing-related government organisation, in a country that is overrun by squatting, to feel that is acceptable to invest in a tourism-related activity - and one which is currently not profitable.
Why this type of investment? Does the NHT have the expertise to make this type of business profitable and generate acceptable returns that will inure to the benefit of contributors who need assistance to get roofs over their heads? Has the NHT lost its head?
I humbly suggest to the Trust that:
(1) It should leave investment in tourism-related activities to the Tourism Enhancement Fund.
(2) It should use the funds that belong to the people of this country to engage in research to determine the best methods to develop affordable, acceptable, safe housing for the poor, humble persons in this country who are forced to live behind zinc fences in unsanitary, crammed, disorganised communes without water, electricity or proper roads.
This is what will help to fulfil the mandate of providing finance to develop projects, social services and physical infrastructure for communities.
Where is the minister of housing? Where is Madam Prime Minister? You need to speak.