Government to give life to Operation Pride

Published: Thursday | July 12, 2012 Comments 0

OPERATION PRIDE, a low-income housing concept introduced by the P.J. Patterson administration of the 1990s, is to be resurrected during this fiscal year.

Dr Morais Guy, minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing, said the Portia Simpson Miller government would be reactivating PRIDE projects "that are deemed most feasible".

"Already, many stakeholders who have invested their hard-earned savings in the programme, but have not yielded a benefit, have met with me to air their concerns," Guy told his fellow lawmakers on Tuesday. "I wish to assure them that, where feasible, every effort will be made to address their concerns."

Bedevilled by allegations

In its previous dispensation, Operation PRIDE was bedevilled by allegations of corruption and mismanagement at the now-defunct National Housing Development Corporation.

Then Housing Minister Dr Karl Blythe resigned in the wake of a damning report from a four-member commission chaired by Erwin Angus. The report had suggested that Blythe acted improperly as minister with responsibility for the programme.

In his contribution to the Sectoral Debate on Tuesday, Guy, who has responsibility for housing, said the sustainability of Operation PRIDE would be examined within the context of the limited financial resources available for development projects.

"The restoration of the programme will also be examined within the context of the increasing environmental and technical standards to be met," Guy explained.

The Government was also seeking to empower a large segment of the population which resides in Operation PRIDE schemes under a titling programme.

"Over 10,000 Operation PRIDE beneficiaries will now be afforded the opportunity of having their individual splinter titles transferred to them," Guy said, noting that this would provide security of tenure for lands which they occupied for decades.

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