Tuesday 26 March, 2019

FFP hits back at MPs over comments on house programme

Students from the St Joseph Academy, United States, and team members of Food For The Poor (FFP) Jamaica engaged in the construction of a two-bedroom house for a 44-year-old widowed father and his seven young children. (PHOTO: FFP)

Students from the St Joseph Academy, United States, and team members of Food For The Poor (FFP) Jamaica engaged in the construction of a two-bedroom house for a 44-year-old widowed father and his seven young children. (PHOTO: FFP)

Food For The Poor (FFP) Jamaica has responded to comments made by some members of parliament in Wednesday's sitting of the Infrastructure and Physical Development Committee, criticising the charity organisation over its low-income housing programme with the Government.

Among the criticisms were that the increase in the cost per unit to build a house  was not justified, and allegations that the homes were infested with termites.

But, in a statement late Wednesday, FFP shot back at the lawmakers and stated that it was prepared to continue the programme without the Government. Under the programme, the state pays half the cost to build each of the two-bedroom wooden houses.

The following is a statement from FFP on the issue.

“We are deeply concerned regarding a comment by Mr Leslie Campbell, MP for Northeast St Catherine, who stated that ‘there is absolutely no justification’ for the cost of building the unit. We would like to remind the relevant authorities that the sole interest of FFP is to build houses and otherwise engage in activities for the benefit of Jamaica’s less fortunate.

“Indeed, it is for this reason that FFP agreed to be a 50 per cent funder in partnership with the Government to alleviate the poor living conditions of vulnerable Jamaicans and in the process, FFP further agreed to share its efficient construction processes with the Government at no cost. We do hope that the media reports are not indicative of an official stance in the matter, as FFP has received no notice from the Government.

“With regard to a comment about termites, we have received no complaint of this nature, having constructed 4,130 housing units under this project. In fact, upon completion of construction by FFP, the Government is required to certify that the house is completed. The contract states that The Housing Agency of Jamaica Limited (HAJL) is the ‘implementing agency’ and provides ‘infrastructure works’ as well as ‘management and supervisory services to the Government …for the construct of the wooden houses under this Agreement’

“For MP Mikhail Phillips to state that the loft of our two-bedroom unit is cold, provides clear evidence that some MPs are unaware that FFP has built units where recipients had no roof to protect them from rain. Which is colder? 

“We resolve with or without the Government of Jamaica of either party to continue unimpeded in our mission of independently building houses and serving our indigent Jamaican sisters and brothers.”  

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