MONTEGO BAY, St James — Prime Minister Andrew Holness says the National Housing Trust (NHT) has evolved remarkably, over the years, into an organisation that operates with high standards and good business practices.
The prime minister, who was speaking at the handover ceremony for 63 NHT units at Industry Cove Manor in Green Island, Hanover, on Friday, said that while this hasn't prevented the organisation from facing criticisms, it is indeed a testament to its structure that there has been no accusation of any financial mismanagement.
Holness said in this regard, the chairman and board of governors and directors must be commended for running a first-rate establishment that is committed to fulfilling its mandate, and to bringing home ownership within the reach of many Jamaicans.
"I know it is a difficult job, and the NHT will come under serious criticisms from time to time," the prime minister noted.
"One of the things I am happy about is that there is no criticism regarding the financial management of the NHT. Those are in the long-gone history of the NHT. We have managed to ensure that the NHT remains a solvent…well-funded, and well-run organisation."
The prime minister, however, conceded that he has seen recently where there have been what he termed "legitimate criticisms" regarding quality of workmanship and output. He said in construction, "you are not going to escape that, which is why there is what is called a defects liability period.
"Even the best-laid construction plans…the best-built plans [don't always turn out as expected] …sometimes the earth shifts…that is just the reality. Cracks will happen. The issue is the response of the NHT and the other institutions to correct them. So, we do note the complaints of some homeowners…and those are issues that we take very seriously; and I know that the engineering department and the maintenance department…and the customer service department of the NHT have been very responsive," the prime minster added.
He further informed that he has also taken a personal interest in noting the complaints, and from time to time will follow up with the relevant heads of departments.
"Apart from my job as prime minister, I am also the minister of housing," he said. "I am also the minister with responsibility for the NHT — and I take that job very seriously. I want to ensure that the people who are benefiting from these units can truly enjoy their units without defects."
Primie Minister Holness said the Government remains fully committed to making homeownership a reality right across Jamaica, noting that "This afternoon, I am sharing in the joy of handing over keys to new homeowners at Industry Cove Manor in Green Island, Hanover."
The NHT has built 63 housing units at Industry Cove. These comprise 23 detached two-bedrooms and 40 two-bedroom townhouses.
Industry Cove is located approximately 3.5 km north-east of Green Island, Hanover. The development is situated on approximately 4.94 hectares or 12.21 acres of land.
The selling price for the 856-square-feet detached house is $17.89 million while the 980-square-feet two-bedroom townhouse is for $18.72 million.
The project team consisted of the project manager (NHT), contractor (Ashtrom Building System Limited), and land surveyor (Leslie B. Mae & Associates).