New NHT Board in 2015

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The government says a new Board of the National Housing Trust, NHT, is to be appointed next year.

That’s the position of Prime Minister, Portia Simpson Miller, coming out of yesterday’s meeting of the National Council of the Partnership Agreement amid the continuing fallout over the NHT/Outameni deal.

Some Private sector and civil society members have accepted this position as among reasons they’ll remain in the fractured Partnership.

Information Minister, Senator Sandrea Falconer today chaired a press briefing hosted by the partners at Jamaica House.

A coalition of environmental groups and the women’s group, 51% Coalition, this week suspended their participation in the Partnership Agreement.

This as they believe its core principles of transparency, consultation and people-centred action, have been breached by the government’s handling of the NHT- Outameni issue.

But despite the protestations and objections of even those members who’ve remained faithful to the partnership, Minister Falconer maintains there was no breach of the agreement.

Coming out of yesterday’s meeting, a number of commitments have been made.

Among them is an agreement that the Consultation Code of Practice for the Public Sector, issued in 2005, is to be embedded in the operations of Ministries and Agencies.

Minister Falconer says a new NHT Board is also to be appointed next April, when the life of the current one ends.

But she’s mum on whether there’s a commitment that Easton Douglas will not be re-appointed Chairman or whether those members who refused to resign amid the furore over the matter, will be re-appointed.

Minister Falconer says the country will have to be patient, as that’s a matter for the Prime Minister to determine.

Having expressed some of the strongest and sustained concerns over the Outameni transaction, PSOJ President Chris Zacca – who was at this morning’s briefing – says his organization is pleased there’ll be a new Board soon.

Mr. Zacca maintains that the Outameni matter has significantly damaged the Partnership.

He says the extent of that damage should not be dismissed.

But Zacca says he’s unsure whether there was a breach of the Partnership Agreement.

It was put to him that he went into yesterday’s meeting with the Prime Minister on the premise that there was a breach of the agreement.

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