JM | Mar 16, 2023

Holness to unveil new NHT financing model

/ Our Today

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Will touch on unsolicited bid to construct $30-billion prison on land in Hartlands, St Catherine

Prime Minister Andrew Holness.

Durrant Pate/Contributor

Prime Minister Andrew Holness is expected to detail a new financing model for the National Housing Trust (NHT), which was hinted at by Governor General Sir Patrick Allen in the 2023-2024 Throne Speech delivered in Parliament last month.

The new arrangement will entail the NHT engaging in a partner arrangement with regulated mortgage-lending institutions. This framework is intended to significantly increase the supply of mortgages while at the same time release funds to focus on the development of affordable housing.  

This new financing comes amid the cries of many contributors of not being able to buy a home through NHT, given a number of factors such as qualifying for scheme units, maximum mortgage benefits not enough to buy a decent home, and NHT homes becoming too expensive for poor contributors.

Holness will detail the new thrust forward when he delivers his contribution to the 2023-2024 Budget Debate this afternoon (March 16). He is also slated to speak on the Government’s stated target of 70,000 new housing solutions by the end of 2025-2026, focusing on the Greater Bernard Lodge Development slated for 15,000 housing solutions.

Strong interest in Greater Bernard Lodge Development

The development has seen strong interest from developers and continues its buildout.

The prime minister will also seek to clear the air regarding the Government receiving an unsolicited bid from a prominent Jamaican developer to construct a $30-billion prison on 300 acres of land in Hartlands, St Catherine.

The Government has long settled on Hartlands as the site for the proposed prison to replace Jamaica’s crumbling, 18th Century workhouse-type corrections facilities that have no place in a modern society.

Minister of National Security and Deputy Prime Minister, Dr Horace Chang.

National Security Minister Dr Horace Chang had told House of Representatives that SCJ Holdings, a state-owned company, had made the lands it owns at Hartlands available for the prison.

There was some confusion in Parliament on Tuesday (March 14) when Opposition Leader Mark Golding, during his contribution to the Budget Debate, implied that the prison will be built via a private-public partnership in which the developer would get a profit. This has, however, was shot down by Government side.

However, many people in Hartlands believe the 300 acres of land earmarked for the prison would be better used for farming to help promote Jamaica’s food security.

The prime minister, in his Budget presentation, is expected to bring some context to the issue and will address other matters falling under his portfolio responsibilities.


What To Read Next