Brown continues to defend NHT's purchase
Petrina Francis Taylor, Assistant Editor - News
LAMBERT BROWN, president of the University and Allied Workers Union, on Thursday reiterated his position on the National Housing Trust's decision to purchase the Outameni property in Trelawny.
Speaking during the Jamaica Confederation of Trade Unions' 20th anniversary lecture at the Webster Memorial Church Hall, St Andrew, Brown said he supported the Trust's purchase of the property because he felt that sugar workers and other residents in the area deserved a park similar to Emancipation Park, St Andrew.
The nine-acre property was purchased for $180 million.
"There is no corruption, no lack of fiduciary responsibility. We are proud, and we don't believe that those who call for Barabbas must always get Barabbas," he said.
The Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), among other groups, has been calling for the resignation of the board members in light of the purchase. Kavan Gayle, the president general of the JLP-affiliated Bustamante Industrial Trade Union, and Helene Davis Whyte, vice-president of the Jamaica Confederation of Trade Unions and general secretary of the Jamaica Association of Local Government Officers, resigned. So, too, did Brenda Cuthbert, reducing membership to eight and one less than the quorum required to operate. Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller on Tuesday announced the appointment of four new members to the Easton Douglas-led board.
Brown told the gathering that the trade unionists on the board did what was right.
"You can be proud of your trade unions, the ones who stayed and the ones who left," said Brown. He noted that persons voted for and against the purchase of the property. "All of us voted ... We did nothing illegal, nothing immoral ... " said Brown before thanking his colleagues for their support.