VIDEO: Interview on TTT on post-pandemic priorities for T&T recovery

ttt LogoThis is the interview Afra Raymond did with Dike Rostant with the COVID-19 Review on TTT. They discuss Afra’s recent video on Post-COVID-19 Process and Priorities. Video courtesy TTT.

  • Prorgamme Date: 23 April 2020
  • Programme Length: 00:09:03
Afra Raymond on TTT COVID-19 Review on TTT

VIDEO: Interview on CNC3 on COVID-19 task force priorities – 20 April 2020

On Monday, 20 April 2020, Afra Raymond was interviewed by Hema Ramkissoon of CNC3 on the process and priorities of the Road To Recovery Team tasked with economic planning for a post-COVID-19 Trinidad and Tobago. Video courtesy CNC3 Television.

  • Programme Length: 00:17:47
  • Programme Date: 20 April 2020

VIDEO: Process and Priorities for the PM’s COVID-19 ‘Road To Recovery’ Committee

Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Rowley, appointed a 22-member COVID-19 ‘Road to Recovery’ committee on 16 April 2020 to handle and advise on the path of the post-pandemic economic and social recovery. Afra Raymond discusses what he believes should be the priorities of this committee.

  • Programme Length: 00:10:15
  • Programme Date: 18 April 2020

Public Procurement Delays

This article will appear on New Year’s Day – 1 January 2020 – and it is a direct criticism of the Trinidad & Tobago government’s unexplained delays in the full implementation of the new Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Property Act (the Act).  In my view those delays are unacceptable and a serious cause for public concern.

On 23 November 2018, the Finance and Legal Affairs Joint Select Committee of Parliament, took evidence on the matter of The Implementation of the New Public Procurement System.

That JSC, under the Chairmanship of Independent Senator, Sophia Chote SC, heard from the Office of Procurement Regulation (OPR) and the Ministries of Finance and Public Administration. That JSC Report of 6 May 2019 gives a detailed and encouraging account of the steps being taken to bring this law into full effect.  Sad to say, but at page 23 of that Report we are told that – Continue reading “Public Procurement Delays”

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”

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”

Property Matters – HDC Housing Bonds

This article will examine the proposed HDC Housing Bonds announced by Finance Minister Imbert in Parliament on Friday, 20 September 2019.  The proposal is to borrow $1.0 Billion via bonds in various tenors offering investors tax-free returns of 4.5%.  The funds raised are to be used for purchasing HDC homes, which was stated to be of importance in addressing critical financial challenges in that State Agency.

Continue reading “Property Matters – HDC Housing Bonds”