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In his first public assignment for 2011, Prime Minister Bruce Golding said that the National Housing Trust (NHT) must continue to find ways to make housing more available to contributors.
Mr. Golding was delivering the keynote address at the Trust’s 35th anniversary re-dedication and flag raising ceremony at Emancipation Park on January 3.
Speaking to long-serving staff and senior officials at the NHT, Mr. Golding said, “Like you, I am not prepared to ever come to the conclusion that there are some people who cannot afford to be housed; a way has to be found. We must never say we can use your money but it is not possible to find a way for that money to benefit you.”
Quoting the most recent Survey of Living Conditions, Mr. Golding noted that more than half of home-owners in Jamaica were assisted by the NHT. He commended the staff and management of the Trust for the achievement and said that of all institutions established since independence, the NHT has been the most successful.
“I don’t think there has been any institution that we have created in that time that has been as successful, has been as faithful in its mission, has had as significant an impact on the lives of the Jamaican people as the National Housing Trust has had,” Mr. Golding said.
In his remarks, Chairman of the Board, Howard Mitchell said that the Trust plans to expand its contributor base to include Jamaicans living abroad.
Also speaking at the function was board member, President of the Jamaica Confederation of Trade Unions (JCTU), Lloyd Goodleigh, who recalled that the institution had done well despite tough economic times.
Outlining the activities for the 35th year, managing Director, A. Cecile Watson gave a tease saying that the Trust will be making a gift to the nation in the first quarter of the year.
The Trust was rededicated by Pastor of the Webster Memorial United Church, Rev Astor Carlyle who based the prayer on Psalm 127: “Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it.” The NHT chorale delivered a prayer in song.
Following the ceremony, the Prime Minister watched cadets of the Marine Division of the Jamaica Combined Cadet Corps (JCCC) hoist the NHT flag and participated in the cutting of the Trust’s anniversary cake in Emancipation Park, which is owned by the NHT.
Mr. Golding then toured the corporate headquarters, greeting staff in their respective departments and attended a NHT board meeting.