Property Matters – THA BOLT Appeal

This article examines the recent Court of Appeal ruling that the THA did not have the power to enter certain PPPs as had been done in the MILSHIRV project.

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In November 2011, the THA entered a Public Private Partnership with the Rahael Holdings group for MILSHIRV, a new office building at the corner of Claude Noel Highway and Shirvan Road in western Tobago.  I was heavily critical of that project as it was clear to me that the basic principles of needs assessment had been violated, as detailed later in this article. Continue reading “Property Matters – THA BOLT Appeal”

“Whistleblower lessons – from Gene Miles to 21st Century Management Styles.”

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Afra Raymond was a speaker at the 2019 Annual Conference of the Human Resource Management Association of T&T (HRMATT) on Thursday 31st October 2019 at Hyatt Regency. His topic was “Whistleblower lessons – from Gene Miles to 21st Century Management Styles.”

Programe Length: 00:48: 39
Programe Date: 31 October 2019

Public Secrets

Public Secrets

What is a Public Secret?  Is that an oxymoron?  Public bodies use public lands and/or public money to make agreements, supposedly in the pursuance of the public interest.  Yet those same bodies often claim that those arrangements are in fact private.  Well I tell you.

That proposition has been advanced, repeatedly and by both political sides, against all good sense and to the continuing detriment of the public.

Two high-profile requests for information were recently refused by public officials and that is the matter I will be examining here. Continue reading “Public Secrets”

Property Matters – HDC Housing Bonds Part Three

Property Matters – HDC Housing Bonds Part Three

The first article in this series set out the background to these proposed bonds and the implications of the HDC’s perennial problem with bad property titles.  The second drew parallels between these proposals and the roots of the 2008 Wall Street crash, with some references to Jamaica’s National Housing Trust and its contribution system as an alternative for financing affordable housing.  This week I conclude by delving into the heart of the matter, the HDC’s finances and its performance in terms of its existing bond portfolio.

One of my persistent complaints against many of our State Agencies, including the HDC, is the long-term failure or refusal to publish proper audited accounts as required by laws and regulations.  nha-hdc-logoI am pleased to report that my requests for NHA/HDC financial statements from 2003 to 2018 were satisfied in April this year.  Once again, I thank the exemplary officers at the HDC for their assistance.  Even if this time I had to engage my attorney to send HDC a pre-action protocol letter before the financial statements were released and what is more, they have not refunded my legal fees.

Those financial statements are for the NHA from 2003 to 2005 and the HDC after 2005.  This article is focused on these proposed bonds so the first point to raise is the status of those financial statements. Continue reading “Property Matters – HDC Housing Bonds Part Three”

VIDEO: ISTT Caribbean Land Conference 2019

VIDEO: ISTT Caribbean Land Conference 2019

istt-conferenceAfra Raymond’s presentation on “State-owned hotels as a development option for T&T: Lessons for Small Islands Developing States” at the ISTT Caribbean Land Conference 2019 – Surveying best practices towards the sustainable development of Caribbean SIDS, at Hilton Trinidad Friday October 11, 2019.

Programme Length: 00:25:20
Programme Date: 11 October 2019

Property Matters – HDC Housing Bonds, part 2

According to the Parliament’s Joint Select Committee 2015 Report into TTMF

“…In 2008 we had established what we called an HDC Unit in anticipation of 3500 mortgages from HDC within three years. Three years later we had to disband that Unit because the HDC did not have the titles that would afford mortgages…”
—testimony of TTMF’s then Managing Director, Ms. Ingrid Lashley, at pg. 126)

The most frequent question arising from last week’s article was in relation to this issue of bad titles on homes built by NHA and HDC, which made it impossible to finance sales via the traditional mortgage lenders. This requires an explanation before getting to the root of my concerns over the parallels with the US financial collapse in 2008 – the Wall Street meltdown which extended to have global consequences. Beyond that, I will draw on Jamaica’s National Housing Trust as an example of an alternative system of housing finance, less dependent on the agents of financialization now looming in the current T&T proposals.
Continue reading “Property Matters – HDC Housing Bonds, part 2”