by Jean Lowrie-Chin | Observer column published 17 Nov 2014
I think financial commentator Ralston Hyman put in well in a radio interview last Friday: if the National Housing Trust (NHT) wanted guaranteed earnings from the people’s deposits for housing, GOJ treasury bills would have yielded them seven to eight percent. Otherwise, if they were wondering how best to spend $180 million, why not just put it towards building a few well-needed homes for the less fortunate?
On the same programme, Dr Damien King expressed the feelings of many: when an employer puts up three percent and an employee two percent of wages towards a Trust to provide housing, it is hard to accept such an odd decision by the Board of the NHT. Humble workers who pay this deduction every month are barely finding enough for rent, while the thought of qualifying for an NHT housing loan is not even within sight. How painful it is for them to be hearing that their money, held in trust to improve the housing stock of the nation, is being used to save a failing tourist attraction.
The irony is that there is a dire need in the tourism industry for decent housing for workers. Last year I related how we met a generous Canadian couple who were so impressed by a hotel worker that they asked to visit his family to see a bit of ‘the real Jamaica’. Well, they certainly saw it. The well-spoken young man and his humble, gracious family lived in little more than a shack with primitive sanitary facilities. They said they paid for the family to spend a weekend at the resort and were moved to see the man’s child marvel at a flush toilet and a comfortable bed.
So come now my people in politics. Why can’t you just confess to the fact that you are playing with the lives of the decent, hardworking people of this country, administration after administration, and do better for the people you say you are so interested in serving? Where is your conscience?
Dr Michael Abrahams posted a poem on Facebook, calling for a peaceful revolution in our country.
Here are some of the words:As we put aside our lenses of orange or green
And visualize our situation in black, gold AND green
Peeling off our party masks
And taking our leaders to task
For this is not about two secondary colours
But about us uniting as sisters and brothers
For a common cause...our survival.
Both of our political parties still have some very decent members and so we are calling on these persons to use some of the measures taken by our Jamaica Constabulary Force, to seek out and clean the corrupt and the greedy out of your midst. The media must not let this one go … we are losing some of our best people because they are losing their faith in Jamaica.