JIS News

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, has welcomed the diverse cross-section of Jamaicans who will be residing in the National Housing Trust’s (NHT) newly constructed Twickenham Glades development in St. Catherine.

Speaking during Wednesday’s (December 1) handover ceremony for the 110 two-bedroom, single-storey duplex houses, Mr. Holness noted that the composition of beneficiaries includes public-sector workers for whom the NHT reserves houses in its schemes; persons with disabilities, who get preferential access to housing; and young people in the 19-35 and age group.

Additionally, he said the recipients include persons who, based on the income threshold in which they fall, will pay four, two and zero per cent interest rates on their mortgages.

“There is a [diverse] distribution of income levels within the community, which is what we want. You don’t want to create enclaves; you want to have a diverse community, and I’m happy to see that [here],” he noted.

The Prime Minister said that Twickenham Glades is a demonstration of the NHT fulfilling its mission of building housing for Jamaicans, noting that the development was “tastefully done”.

“This is very spacious in terms of lot sizes, and I do know that [the NHT] has included some infrastructure – a multipurpose playfield for jogging and recreation [and] you have made provisions for parking,” he pointed out.

The Prime Minister encouraged the new homeowners to plant trees and grass to further enhance the aesthetics and ambience.

“You’re close to the [Mandela] Highway, and the trees can act as a sound barrier and as a dust barrier as well… [and] will create the atmosphere that you want,” he added.

Mr. Holness noted that the cost of the units, at $13.7 million each, “is in line with what housing solutions with this level of lot size, square footage under roof, and location are going for”, adding that “I can see that… the beneficiaries are very happy”.

The Prime Minister indicated that over the next two to three years, the NHT will be providing nearly 22,000 additional guaranteed housing solutions at a cost of $195 billion.

He advised that the entity has 12,019 units now under construction, the most for any single period in the NHT’s history, “of which more than 95 per cent are affordable to low-income [earners]”.

Additionally, he said 9,641 are in the planning and designing stages, which will be undertaken at a cost of some $95 billion.

Meanwhile Minister of Housing, Urban Renewal and Climate Change, Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr., said the vision being advanced by the Prime Minister and, by extension, the Government, is for “every single Jamaican… to have safe, legal, and affordable housing”, noting that “we can only do this through collaboration”.

To this end, he said strong partnerships will be pursued and maintained with the NHT and private sector, noting that the latter stakeholders are being invited to work with the Trust, because of the long-term benefits to be derived.

In her remarks, the Trust’s Board member, Nesta-Claire Hunter, who represented the Chairman, Lennox Channer, said Wednesday’s handover ceremony marked “yet another proud moment in the NHT’s 45-year… history, where another group of well-deserving Jamaicans from every walk of life will receive the keys to their brand-new home”.

She noted that the NHT recognises that the houses provided at Twickenham Glades go beyond meeting a family’s need for shelter.

“Home is the grounding force in our lives. It is safety, comfort, and peace of mind. Most importantly, home is an opportunity to permanently change the trajectory in our lives and those of generations to come,” she added.

In congratulating the beneficiaries for embarking on their “home ownership journey”, Mrs. Hunter reminded them that “this is just the beginning”, and as such, “we remain committed to walking with you every step of the way”.

“I encourage you to employ the same commitment, dedication, and vision that guided you to this point to now protect this worthwhile investment,” she added.

For his part, new homeowner, Dwight Bailey, who spoke on behalf of the recipients, said they are “extremely delighted” to be afforded the opportunity “to own a piece of Jamaica, land we love”.

He said that as new homeowners, “we are feeling accomplished”, because “owning a home is one of the most significant investments anyone can make for the financial security of ourselves and our families”.

Mr. Bailey assured the beneficiaries “are striving for our community to be one of the best, if not the best development handed out by the NHT”.

“The commitment is already being felt through the various discussions among the selectees, and we are extremely confident that all the relevant stakeholders will join hands and hearts with us to make this a reality,” he added.

The ceremony was also attended by Member of Parliament for St. Catherine Eastern where the development is located, Denise Daley, who delivered brief remarks.

Twickenham Glades was developed on five hectares (12.21 acres) of land located along the westbound side of Mandela Highway in Twickenham Park and is contiguous with another NHT development, Union Estates.

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