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New NHT board in April

Published:Thursday | December 18, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Information Minister, Sandrea Falconer, has announced that a new board for the National Housing Trust (NHT) will be appointed when the current board's tenure ends in April 2015.

The Easton Douglas-led entity has come under fire, following the $180-million purchase of the property on which the Trelawny-based Outameni attraction is located.

Speaking during a press briefing at Jamaica House yesterday, Falconer stressed that the move had nothing to do with the ongoing controversy but, rather, a decision that was made by Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller.

not an admission

The press conference followed a meeting on Tuesday, held under the chairmanship of Simpson Miller, which included members of the Partnership of Jamaica.

"This is not an admission to anything that has to do with the purchase. One has to understand how the board of the NHT is made up. It includes members of unions, members of employer bodies and, therefore, every time the life of a board ends, the minister involved, has a right to name a new board," Falconer told journalists.

"We are aware that the Government, along with the NHT, has a lot of work to do in regaining the confidence of the people because there was need for better communication. Going forward, the people of Jamaica will be priority and we will be working hard to engage the public more," she said.

Two groups have suspended their participation in the partnership as a result of the controversy.

Chris Zacca, outgoing president of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ), who also attended the press briefing, said despite concerns he expressed, he was confident that things would be better going forward.

"We are willing to accept that despite the concerns about the actions of the NHT, a new board will be appointed in 2015, and we are confident that this new board will restore the confidence of the general public," he said.