Senate Opens Debate on Amendments to NHT Act


The Senate today opened debate on a bill, the National Housing Trust Amendment Act, which seeks to allow an annual $11-billion draw down from the agency over the next 4 years for budgetary support.

During the 2017/18 budget debate the government announced its intention to continue the draw down which began under the PNP-administration in 2012.

During a contentious debate today, Opposition Senator Lambert Brown noted that the then Opposition JLP Senators had voted against the measure in 2012.

He alleged that the JLP had taken the then PNP-administration to court about the NHT draw down.

This prompted the intervention of the Leader of Government Business, Kamina Johnson Smith and acting President Kavan Gayle who objected to Brown’s utterances.

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During his contribution, Government Senator, Charles Sinclair, criticized Senator Brown for sitting on the NHT Board and voting in favor of using contributors’ money in a transaction which the Auditor General has described as buy out of a bad debt.

Sinclair rebutted Senator Brown’s description of the NHT bill as a sign of the JLP’s hypocrisy.

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Opposition Senator, KD Knight, joined Brown in supporting the bill.

However, he called on the Government to admit that it made a mistake when it opposed a similar measure in 2012.

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Abka Fitz-Henley is a multiple award-winning journalist who is currently the Senior Reporter at Nationwide News Network (NNN). His primary areas of focus are Court, Crime and Parliamentary proceedings. Fitz-Henley was recently recognized in the regional celebrity magazine publication Panache as “The Breaking News Boss”. At 21 years of age, following his 1st year in media, Fitz-Henley was recognized with the Young Journalist of the year award from The Press Association of Jamaica and went on to cop one of the country’s highest recognized journalism prizes, the Journalist of the Year Award. He’s also been awarded the prestigious Corporate Jamaica Broilers Fairplay 1st place Award for investigative journalism and is the recipient of the Caribbean Blog Award for coverage of the infamous Kartel murder trial. Fitz-Henley is also the recipient of the PM Youth Award for Excellence. Over the years, he has appeared as a guest on the BBC World Service and BBC London.