Prime Minister Andrew Holness, on Friday, August 11, broke ground for the $907 Million Sheffield Palms housing development in Retreat, Westmoreland.
Being executed under the National Housing Trust’s (NHT) Guaranteed Purchase Programme (GPP) the project will provide 60, two-bedroom housing solutions to Jamaicans in the first phase.
The first 30 units are expected to be completed by March 2024; while the additional 30 houses will be delivered to homeowners by September 2024. The overall development, comprising 24 acres of land, will bring 113 housing units to the market.
It will include paved driveways and parking areas, a stormwater drainage system, a potable water distribution network, and connections to sewer infrastructure, among other things.
Prime Minister Holness noted that the houses are intended for civil servants and mid-management persons employed in the tourism sector. “So, once you are within that income bracket, you should be able to easily afford one of these units,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr. Holness is encouraging more developers to partner with the NHT through the GPP to provide housing solutions for Jamaicans.
Under the programme, which was established in November 2018, the NHT agrees to purchase for its contributors, all or portions of units in housing developments done by real estate developers.
This approach seeks to leverage efficiencies within the private sector to deliver housing units faster and at lower costs.
“The Guaranteed Purchase Programme is a very good project and we are encouraging more developers to come on board to take advantage of [it],” Mr. Holness urged. He emphasised the importance of accountability and adherence to agreements under the GPP.
“Sometimes developers come on board and say yes, we can build, they sign on to an agreement and then change their mind afterward and don’t want to fulfill the agreement and that we can’t have,” he pointed out. He warned that contracts will be pursued through legal means if developers fail to fulfill their obligations.
“I’m saying clearly that the NHT will maintain a very strict posture in these agreements, and we will carry all our contracts to court to be adjudicated if the contractors do not perform and that should be absolutely clear,” Prime Minister Holness said. He said that the Government will protect the interests of the Jamaican people and maintain the integrity of the NHT.
“We protect the Trust, meaning the funds that the contributors put in. So, it won’t be a situation where contractors can feel that because it’s Government, they don’t have to perform or they may believe that…the NHT won’t take them to court,” he said.