JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Shanika Thompson, at 22, she is the youngest recipient in the National Housing Trust (NHT)-built scheme.
  • Miss Thompson, who was a co-applicant with her mother, received one of 48 housing units under Phase 1 of the development.
  • The Majesty Gardens project is part of the Urban Renewal initiative, which aims to transform inner-city communities into ‘winner cities’.

Shanika Thompson, a beneficiary in the newest inner-city housing development in Majesty Gardens, St. Andrew, is a proud and grateful young lady today.

At 22, she is the youngest recipient in the National Housing Trust (NHT)-built scheme, which was officially handed over on Wednesday, December 18, by Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller.

Miss Thompson, who was a co-applicant with her mother, received one of 48 housing units under Phase 1 of the development, which consists of 16 three bedrooms and 32 two bedrooms, constructed at a cost of $172 million. Two of the units are reserved for residents of the community, who are public sector workers.

Miss Thompson said the acquisition of her own home will provide “an opportunity for me and my family to improve our lives.”

She said she will now have her own bedroom and no longer will be embarrassed to have friends visit.

“I will no longer be afraid or embarrassed to invite a friend to visit because I am terrified they might ask ‘can I use your restroom’ or simply because I do not want them to know where I live.

“If and when asked for proof of address I will now be able to furnish several utility bills…. I will no longer have to worry that there might not be sufficient power to iron my clothes to go to work tomorrow because we will have electricity and I am sure that the majority of persons who are from Majesty Gardens can testify to that,” said Miss Thompson.

In delivering the keynote address, Prime Minister Simpson Miller, who is also Member of Parliament for South Western St. Andrew in which Majesty Gardens is located, congratulated the beneficiaries and thanked the NHT for making the development happen.

She told the recipients that getting a key to their new home represents “a key to a whole new life” and “a whole new set of possibilities.”

Mrs. Simpson Miller informed that all the beneficiaries under the project satisfied the criteria as laid down by the NHT, whether individually or as co-applicants, and had the requisite down payment. “They (the units) are not for free. The people worked hard. They paid their NHT contributions and they are prepared to pay their mortgage,” she pointed out.

She urged the beneficiaries to take responsibility for their community, and keep it clean and beautiful. “Let Majesty Gardens be a model of inner-city development. You can do it and I am expecting you to do it. Do it for your children, do it for yourself… Take care of your space and I am going to beg you to live in peace and harmony. Let love reign in Majesty Gardens. Let it be a light that will shine in other communities across Jamaica. Be your brothers’ and sisters’ keeper,” she said.

The Majesty Gardens project is part of the Urban Renewal initiative, which aims to transform inner-city communities into ‘winner cities’. Mrs. Simpson Miller pointed out that the majority of persons living in these areas “are decent people, who just need a push start to help them get their lives together.”

Noting the need for suitable housing in the community, she urged the NHT to break ground for Phase 2 before the end of the financial year.

NHT Chairman, Hon. Easton Douglas, noted that there is a feeling in the wider society that beneficiaries of inner-city housing are “freeloaders” who, do not live up to their obligations but the agency’s experience does not support  this perception.

“Our experience at the NHT is that most residents make outstanding effort to remain in good standing with the Trust because they like and appreciate where they live. We are confident that you will make a similar effort,” he said.

Noting that there are still others in the community, who are in need of housing, Mr. Douglas implored the 48 beneficiaries not to “think of yourself as being separate from your neighbours who were not able to secure housing at this time in this scheme”.

“Continue to build on the relations that you have formed over the years so that there is harmony throughout the community,” he added.

The housing development is equipped with drying yards, car parks, garbage enclosure, two-day reserve water supply in a ground level tank, common area lighting, and play area for children.