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JLP 71st conference under way, NHT controversy among hot topics on agenda

Published:Sunday | November 16, 2014 | 11:12 PM

Hundreds of Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) supporters are now gathered at the National Arena in Kingston for the party's 71st annual conference where its spokesman on finance, Audley Shaw, is expected to shed more light on the National Housing Trust's (NHT) controversial purchase of the Outameni Experience attraction.



Shaw is expected to raise further concerns about the Outameni purchase, which took centrestage in Parliament last Tuesday as Prime Minister Portia Simpson sought to respond to questions about the NHT's purchase of the operations.



The Gleaner-Power 106 understands that Shaw is expected to present information questioning the truthfulness of information presented by Government so far, including the prime minister's claim that she first heard about the deal through the media.



Sources have informed The Gleaner that Orange Valley Holdings, which owns Outameni, had written to the prime minister and other key government ministers in 2012, reminding them of the Government's intention to preserve Outameni and not just take charge of the land.



The JLP is also expected to question whether any government agency held preference shares in Outameni and if this entity collected any portion of the J$180 million sale price; and on what basis did the Easton Douglas-led NHT board sign off on the project only one month after it received the purchase offer.



There are also questions about whether there was an offer that was rejected by the NHT for the management of Orange Valley Holdings to continue operating the attraction after it was sold.



The conference, whose focus this year is Austerity to Prosperity, is expected to address burning controversies and national issues.



Leader of the Opposition, Andrew Holness, is expected was scheduled to address the conference at 1:00 this afternoon.



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