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NHT board member rejects Daway's Outameni claims

Published:Tuesday | November 18, 2014 | 5:00 PM

Jovan Johnson, Gleaner Writer

KINGSTON, Jamaica:

Lambert Brown, a National Housing Trust (NHT) board member, is rejecting claims by former member, Dr Davidson Daway, who has asserted that not every member of the board had a say in the Outameni property purchase in 2012.

In an interview with The Gleaner/Power 106 News Centre today, Daway said the Outameni scandal rocking the trust was bound to happen because of the “arrogance and recklessness” of some board members.

He said some members did not have much of an input in the decision of the board to buy the Trelawny property on which the 10-acre Outameni attraction is located.

However, Brown said in December 2012 when the decision was made, a lawful quorum was present which agreed with decision.

He said even if some members were absent, none of them used the seven-day period after the meeting to write any objections as stipulated by the NHT’s rules.

"I am therefore not disappointed and not surprised that Dr Daway, whose contributions on the board was very, very limited could be now saying now that the board was arrogant and reckless. I reject those allegations," said Brown.

According to Brown, none of the board members complained about the purchase at the time.

The trade unionist further said any ex-NHT board member who is now criticising the fund is capitalising on unfair public criticisms.

"They [are] playing upon unjust concerns, unfair concerns about the price we paid for a valuable property in Trelawny. The public should be happy they (the ex-board members) resigned," Brown said.

"They had a duty to raise all the issues, if any issue existed, over Outameni. They all agreed to the Outameni sale ... every single one of them. This was in 2012, how come they just find their tongue?”

Daway was among four members who resigned in March, sending strong signals from then that all was not well within the NHT set up to give Jamaicans affordable housing.

Yesterday, trade unionists Kavan Gayle and Helene Davis Whyte resigned over the scandal engulfing the NHT and its decision to spend $180 million of contributors' money to buy the property.

The parliamentary Opposition has been leading calls for Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller to sack the board over the purchase which it claims is outside of the NHT’s mandate.

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