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  • National Housing Trust (NHT) Chairman, Easton Douglas, is maintaining that the entity’s acquisition of the 9.12-acre Orange Grove property in North Trelawny for $180 million, is consistent with the organization’s mandate to create recreational, social and physical facilities that will support its current and future housing developments in that section of the parish.
  • Defending the acquisition, Mr. Douglas highlighted a number of projects earmarked for development in relative close proximity to Orange Grove.
  • Development of a facility on the property, similar to Emancipation Park in New Kingston, is being contemplated by the NHT’s Board.

National Housing Trust (NHT) Chairman, Easton Douglas, is maintaining that the entity’s acquisition of the 9.12-acre Orange Grove property in North Trelawny for $180 million, is consistent with the organization’s mandate to create recreational, social and physical facilities that will support its current and future housing developments in that section of the parish.

The property, which also has 19 buildings, including a 300 year-old great house deemed in “relatively good condition,” was operated as the ‘Outameni’ visitor attraction by the previous owners.

Development of a facility on the property, similar to Emancipation Park in New Kingston, is being contemplated by the NHT’s Board.

Speaking at a press briefing today (November 24), in Kingston, Mr. Douglas said that Orange grove’s acquisition is also in keeping with the Board’s deliberations in relation to the NHT’s contribution of a project to the Jamaica 50 Legacy Programme.

The briefing was held to clarify what he described as “some misunderstanding” arising in the public domain, in relation to the property’s purchase.

Defending the acquisition, Mr. Douglas highlighted a number of projects earmarked for development in relative close proximity to Orange Grove.

These include: Stonebrook, where the NHT has provided $1 billion to provide 782 housing solutions; Holland Estate, where the entity will finance construction of 400 houses; and Dry Valley, where the organization is slated to spend $6 billion to create a “comprehensive and integrated” housing development, inclusive of 1,000 housing solutions.

In addition, the Chairman said plans are currently being advanced for the development of 132 solutions for low income earners at Windsor, Duncans; while another 288 are earmarked for tourism and sugar workers in Hampden.

Mr. Douglas added that others are also earmarked for Florence Hall, Silver Sands, and Spicy Hill.

“In addition, there is Harmony Cove, which is still active, Royalton Hotel, and the cruise ship pier, which cannot be discounted. All of these developments are within 10 to 15 minutes travel by vehicle to the Orange Grove property. The fact that North Trelawny is a major growth area is undisputed. For too long, we have been ignoring these types of developments (akin to Emancipation Park) in rural Jamaica,” he said.

Noting that there was “no objection” to the acquisition by members of the NHT’s Technical Team, who had visited the property, Mr. Douglas said they indicated that it would not be ideal for housing development, but would be more suitable for heritage and cultural engagements.

He pointed out that while it is the NHT that has acquired Orange Grove, “we don’t own the property,” and stressed that “this is now an asset for the people of Jamaica.”

Mr. Douglas maintained that the Board “acted legally, morally, and in the best interest of the NHT, our contributors, and the people of Jamaica.”

“We have carried out our duties consistent with the NHT Act, and in keeping with our fiduciary responsibilities,” he emphasized.

Other Board members attending the media briefing were: Jamaica Civil Service Association (JCSA) President, O’Neil Grant, Norman Horne, and Percival LaTouche.

 

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