by Kavon Fiennes
In a previous post on February 18th, I asked this very same question….“Is the Government of Jamaica acting Illegally?”…,in reference to the incumbent PNP government’s proposed withdrawal of J$11.4 billion per year from workers’ National Housing Trust (NHT) funds. Money put into the trust from involuntary salary deductions, supposedly for our use.
For the uninitiated, in Jamaica, 2.0% of our gross salary is deducted (matched by a 3% contribution from our employers) and put into the NHT, which is then supposed to operate as a fund for home construction by the State for us to purchase, or for us to access low interest rate mortgages for other house and land purchases.
All salaried workers (and employers) in Jamaica have to pay this over to the NHT, involuntarily. Meaning it’s not optional. Of note, this administration when last in government illegally built homes for non-NHT contributors, as part of an inner-city housing project.
Of course it is still not clear whether this J$11.4 billion per annum requirement of the NHT to pay over to the government is a withdrawal to shore up the government’s hunger for spending our money; or if it is ‘ah borrows’ (English translation: ‘a loan’).
In the February 24th edition of the Sunday Gleaner, Attorney-at-law Gordon Robinson adds more weight to my question. After making his legal position clear, utilizing the existing law and statutes and amendments, to argue against this action of government. He states:
“The NHT directors, trustees all, should be very careful how they genuflect at the altar of politics if it entails breaching their fiduciary duties to all NHT contributors by acceding to this illegal request. Don’t be frightened or bullied by political leaders’ shrill threats to the effect that, if we don’t find it there, we’ll have to find it somewhere else.”
Mr. Robinson, who refers to himself as The Terrible Tout (@TheTerribleTout) on Twitter, had better be careful, as he may incur the ire of this administration. Our Prime Minister may develop the habit of referring to persons who disagree with her, or her administration, as “Enemies of the State”.
If title of the book by Judge Andrew Napolitano…“It is Dangerous to be Right When the Government is Wrong” is anything to go by, I am afraid for Mr. Robinson and others taking the government to court over this issue.
Even if the government is acting illegally, which they appear to be, the Finance Minister has made it clear that they plan to change legislation to take the NHT money anyway if that’s the case!!!
This is the consequence of tyrannical rule by a government of limitless power. We must take a stand against this immoral behaviour by the state.
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.