This statement is designed to set the record straight as regards my termination as Chairman of the board of the National Housing Corporation.
When I willingly accepted the role of Chairman of National Housing Corporation in December 2008, I viewed the position as an excellent opportunity to broaden my service within the community through alleviating many of society's ills that are rooted in the twin issues of inadequate housing and overcrowding.
Despite my social intent, unfortunately there were fundamental differences between the Minister of Housing and Lands and the Board in terms of our interpretation of established rules and protocols, as well as the role and function of the Board in respect of all NHC projects. The established rule is that in respect of all NHC funded projects the Board recommends and the minister is free to accept or reject any such recommendation.
Regrettably, in some instances, the Board was never accorded the opportunity to give due or any consideration to and/or make the appropriate recommendation in respect of some NHC projects. This attitude and disposition on the part of the Minister ultimately led to an impasse between the Minister and me and ultimately, my termination as chairman of the Board. Case in point work at Forde's Road, Clapham, St. Michael.
Prior to my termination and as a result of the said impasse already referred to, I considered resigning on several occasions but felt that I owed it to Prime Minister, the Hon. David Thompson, who was instrumental in my appointment, as well as my commitment to the cause of social justice, to persevere in what was fast becoming an impossible situation, in the hope and expectation that the matter would be resolved amicably. Sadly this was not to be and I exited the Board on July 31st, 2010.
Whereas some strides were made under my stewardship at the NHC, I leave somewhat disappointed that certain issues were not adequately addressed, for example, the awarding of contracts to small contractors. I feel passionately about this issue given my direct dialogue with many small contractors, many of whom are on the brink of failure. I have repeatedly sought without success, to persuade the Minister to buy into the concept outlined in the DLP manifesto of awarding a far greater portion of NHC contracts to small contractors.
Additionally, I leave with the knowledge that despite my best efforts and alerts, I could not ensure that a contract be put in place with the contractors, CLICO Holdings, re: the ongoing work at Constant, St. George.
The experience I gained as Chairman of national Housing Corporation will be forever etched in my mind. Hence I wish to extend sincere gratitude to the Board, as well as the Management and Staff for your cooperation.
I also wish to take this opportunity to publicly thank all well wishers for their notes and calls of encouragement. To my clients and policyholders, the YWCA sisters and our many sponsors, rest assured of my adherence to the highest standards of professional responsibility.
To date I have not received any direct or indirect explanation as to the root cause of my termination as Chairman, nor have I received any prior warning. In the absence thereof, I can only conclude that my termination was due to my interpretation of and strict adherence to established rules and protocols. If so, then I leave with my head high as a proud and principled Former Chairman of the National Housing Corporation.
Signed: Marilyn Rice-Bowen
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