Holness Administration Holds Record for Most Houses Built

Already, he says, the current Administration which he leads holds the strongest record in housing. The National Housing Trust is on track to build 22,000 homes by the end of this financial year, the most housing solutions built by a single Administration. Prime Minister Andrew Holness has declared that the Government is committed to solving the country’s housing and land settlement issues.Already, he says, the current Administration which he leads holds the strongest record in housing.The National Housing Trust is on track to build 22,000 homes by the end of this financial year, the most housing solutions built by a single Administration.The Prime Minister made the comments on Friday (August 9) during his keynote address at the ground-breaking ceremony at Rhyne Park Estate in St. James.“The NHT is now on track to build 22,000 housing solutions by the end of this financial year, the most that have ever been built by any administration in any term. The HAJ that was an agency that was on my chopping block one of the Agencies that was plagued by corruption, I said we can’t have this agency. Dr. Horace Chang, then Minister without portfolio with that Ministry, pleaded with me and said, we can turn in around, and that agency has been turned around. It has been moved from a loss-making agency to with bad audit reports to an agency that is about to make a surplus. More than that they have now started to deliver housing solutions at the price point that people can afford,” said Prime Minister Holness.In that regard, the Prime Minister underscored that in less than a decade the Government will be able to solve the housing and settlement problems in Jamaica.The Prime Minister stated that this can be done through increasing the housing construction to realise five to ten thousand houses per year in planned communities.According to the Prime Minister, the Government has made it easier for individuals to own their own home in Jamaica with affordable prices and easy access to financing.“What this government has done with its emphasis on housing, with its emphasis on building, with its emphasis on creating sustainable communities that will retain value for the people who invest in them so that they can pass on that value to the next generation, is to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty through the development of housing and community,” said Prime Minister Holness.In the meantime, Prime Minister Holness emphasized that the Government is doing more than just talk and communicating, its ensuring achievements and delivering on its commitment to the people.“What we try to do as a Government is, first of all, make sure that we present to you the information that is necessary for you as the citizen to make a decision to form an opinion. So, I have always said to my Ministers it is important to communicate. But…, as a Government, we don’t celebrate announcements. So, you are not going to hear me make announcements of things to come in a celebratory way. You will see this kind of set up when it is happening,” said Prime Minister Holness.The Prime Minister asserted that the Government has implemented good policies as seen in the provision of good, quality affordable housing solutions.A mixture of 754 one to three-bedroom townhouses, apartment, and single-family units are being built by the Housing Agency of Jamaica at Rhyne Park Estate in St. James. The project will be completed in three years. Story Highlights Prime Minister Andrew Holness has declared that the Government is committed to solving the country’s housing and land settlement issues. read more

Positive Responses to Tourism Workers Pension Scheme

Story Highlights It will cover all workers from 18 to 59 years in the tourism sector, whether permanent, contractual or self-employed. Benefits will be payable at age 65 years or older. Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett, is reporting positive responses and buy-in from sector workers and stakeholders who are to benefit from the soon-to-be-established Tourism Workers’ Pension Scheme.The scheme, which is expected to come into effect early 2020, is a defined contributory plan supported by legislation, and will require mandatory contribution by workers and employers.It will cover all workers from 18 to 59 years in the tourism sector, whether permanent, contractual or self-employed. Benefits will be payable at age 65 years or older.Speaking at a recent JIS ‘Think Tank’, the Minister noted that the public awareness and sensitisation sessions have been bearing fruit with deep interest and enthusiasm from both employees and employers on how the scheme will impact the sector.“We started out with seminars and have been through all the main resort areas, including Negril, Ocho Rios, Montego Bay and Kingston and now we are on to the next phase of going to the hotels, then to the attractions and ground transportation,” Mr. Bartlett said, adding that the whole idea is to ensure that the establishment of the scheme is understood by all the workers in the sector.He said that the sessions have been “very animated with a lot of excitement from everybody and the questions are numerous and practical, so that tells us that there is a deep interest, and for most, a welcoming addition to the sector’s offerings.”The Minister pointed out that the sensitisation sessions are most crucial, as “once you are asking people to take any amount from their salary, you will have to convince them that they are making the right decision, so the public awareness activities is a big part of the buy-in that we need from all the partners.”For her part, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Jennifer Griffith, pointed out that the public awareness strategy is also a chance to emphasise the importance of saving.“As a nation, we do not save as much as we ought to, so we are reinforcing the importance of saving for your retirement age…so it is more than just saying it is a retirement fund, join it, but it is also saying, change your entire mindset towards investments and savings and think about your own quality of life after your working years,” Mrs. Griffith highlighted.She added that the Ministry has rolled out its public education campaign with messages in print, electronic and social media.“We are also doing one-on-one consultations with all of the tourism subsectors and so far, we have been getting very good attendance and good questions, and we are heartened that what we are doing is something that is very desirable and needed in the sector,” the Permanent Secretary said.Meanwhile, Minister Bartlett informed that the Ministry is soon to appoint a Coordinator for the pension plan programme, who will be responsible for doing the leg- work across the island to ensure that people understand and, most importantly, sign up.“The tourism workers’ pension plan is a big deal and we want you all to participate and be a beneficiary of what is the biggest savings instrument that Jamaica could see, as this is a powerful way of demonstrating that tourism is working for you,” the Minister asserted. The scheme, which is expected to come into effect early 2020, is a defined contributory plan supported by legislation, and will require mandatory contribution by workers and employers. Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett, is reporting positive responses and buy-in from sector workers and stakeholders who are to benefit from the soon-to-be-established Tourism Workers’ Pension Scheme. read more