Is the Government of Jamaica acting illegally?

by Kavon Fiennes

At RightFromYaad we have been waiting to hear someone, anyone, from the legal fraternity to explain the constitutionality of the incumbent (PNP) government’s proposed J$11 billion annual raid on National Housing Trust Funds (The govt announced in parliament on Feb 12th its plans to take J$ 45 billion from the NHT, over the next 4 years). I assume it is just because the money is sitting there doing nothing.

The NHT contribution paid by salaried workers, is an involuntary “tax”, taken from persons and deposited into a fund which allows its ‘contributors’ to access low interest loans to purchase or build property. We should of course note, that the majority of those who are able to access such loans are higher income earners! No one even challenges the “good intentions” of government (who passed the NHT Act) with this fact.  The burden of evidence shows that the NHT, in effect, forces low income earners to subsidize high income earners in home or land purchasing.  Things have seriously gone awry.

That being said, we are happy to point out that in today’s online Gleaner, Attorney-at-law Hugh Wildman makes the case that the government is acting illegally in taking the NHT funds:

“The attorney argues that the funds are the property of the depositors under the National Housing Trust (NHT) Act, and so the Government cannot pass a law, whether it be primary or subsidiary legislation, to take funds from contributors.”

This is in total contradiction to evidence brought to light by the NHT Chairman, Easton Douglas (a former PNP minister of government mind you):

“….(Douglas) argued that the Public Bodies and Management Accountability Act gives the Minister of Finance authority to require the NHT to a make financial contribution in support of the Government’s fiscal initiatives.”

Who is correct? Who has legal grounds to defend their position? Govt MP, Raymond Pryce in softening the ‘fallout’ of the NHT raid by govt, wrote a column in yesterday’s Sunday Gleaner, and states:

“….the NHT, however, has accumulated significant resources points to the ability through sensible taxation and the setting up of special-purpose funds in the first place. The management of these funds and allocating resources to address national needs are to be better coordinated under a Central Treasury Management System which, if properly implemented, should see Government having better sight of, oversight for, and improved capacity to better allocate the state’s limited resources towards economic and social development.”

These guys are really something else! They always know what’s best for our money only if they properly implement some program. Just give them the chance to prove it.

The proof of the pudding has been in the eating with economic stagnation of the Jamaican economy over the past 40 years. The government genuinely believes that this NHT money is theirs, and whenever it suits them they can simply unilaterally take it without consultation with depositors and without our consent.

There is something morally wrong with the activities of the state. They have no moral authority to act in this fashion. People wake up.


Kavon Fiennes is creator of the RightFromYaad blog. He is a 30-something year old ‘Black’, sometimes ‘Brown’, Jamaican. He is a former socialist, nationalist and Democrat, turned Libertarian and semi-conservative since his mid 20′s. He still holds lingering left-wing views on the way society ought to treat the destitute and elderly.


About RightFromYaad

A view from "the Right", as a source of ideas to create a new vision of freedom and what it promises for Jamaicans, to counter the tyranny of the status quo of Jamaica's reality since 1962. Website: Email: Twitter : @rightfromyaad Facebook:
This entry was posted in Articles/Columns from Jamaican newspapers, Jamaican Issues, KAVON FIENNES, Politics and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Is the Government of Jamaica acting illegally?

  1. Pingback: Is the Government of Jamaica Acting Illegally? Part II | RightFromYaad

  2. Pingback: Is the Government Acting Illegally? Part III | RightFromYaad

  3. How could they be? It’s people’s money. They can wrap it up into any form of legal language they want but that won’t change the fact dat a nuh fi dem it.
    Waiting for the legal fraternity to say anything would be like waiting for the second coming. It nah go happen! They are ineffective, useless.
    What surprises me though, is why the people, the ones who contributed have remained so silent – dem jus ben over an tek it.
    I’m so glad after my mother passed, I took out the pittance she contributed. I would have been disgusted to let the GOJ get their grubby little paws on one red cent of her money!

    • Thanks for your comment….It’s is quite perplexing dat de people dem jus tek it. But we have been conditioned very well by the political elite to take whatever they deem appropriate to mete out onto us.

  4. satanforce says:

    I think that the problem with the NHT is deeper. It goes back to the Manley/Matalon link and how WIHCON “built” both middle-class Kingston and Portmore. We have inherited from tha time a policy of poor land use, and wasteful use of (Ashenheim) concrete. But we have to move from general economics to the intersection of economics and urban geography to see the continued failure of the NHT, and government housing policy.

    • Through the privileges of government, certain special groups (whether they be WIHCON or otherwise) are given special licenses to operate with impunity. The cronyism of govt is in plain sight, yet we are all so blind to it, and pledge unending allegiance to a particular party.

  5. Pingback: Why Not Create An Activist Lobby Groups To Push For Fiscal Reform in Jamaica? | Right From Yaad

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