Re-Appointment & Appointment to Board of Directors of the Trinidad and Tobago Housing Development Corporation (HDC)
The Honourable Camille Robinson-Regis, MP
Minister of Housing and Urban Development
Large Conference Room,
Ministry of Housing and Urban Development
- The Honourable Adrian Leonce, Minister in the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development
- Mrs. Shanmatee Singh Ng Sang, Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Housing and Urban Development
- Ms. Nirmala Ramlogan, Acting Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Housing and Urban Development
- Members of incoming Board of the Trinidad and Tobago Housing Development Corporation
- Ms. Jayselle McFarlane, Managing Director of the Trinidad and Tobago Housing Development Corporation,
- Heads of Department at the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development
- Divisional Managers and Senior Managers of the Trinidad and Tobago Housing Development Corporation
- Members of Staff
- Distinguished Guests
- Members of the Media
Ladies and gentlemen good morning.
I thank you for your presence this morning as we distribute the Instruments of Appointment to the Chair and Members of the Board of the Trinidad and Tobago Housing Development Corporation (HDC). I wish to record my deepest appreciation to President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, Her Excellency Paula-Mae Weekes, and her office for facilitating the preparation and signing of these instruments.
I wish also to express my deepest gratitude to Mr. Noel Garcia for once again accepting and agreeing to steer the efforts of the Board of the HDC over the next three (3) years. Mr. Garcia brings invaluable knowledge, expertise and has an excellent understanding of the needs of the Housing
Sector, and how these ought to be met.
He has served our nation with distinction for decades, not only at the HDC, but also at UDeCOTT, and I look forward to how much more he is going to give to our beloved country, in the weeks and months ahead, as returning as the HDC Chairman. Last year, the HDC was able to deliver houses to over 770 families last year, despite the challenges of the pandemic, including the challenge for higher prices of materials, and work stoppages.
My gratitude is also extended to the returning Members for your willingness to continue for a second term in the service of your country. I know the work will be new to a few of the new incoming Board Members. However, I have no doubt that given your demonstrated leadership qualities you will all work well together and persevere to ensure that the mandate of the HDC is achieved.
Permit me to take this opportunity to offer my sincerest appreciation to the outgoing members for their collective work and achievements during the last term.
Deputy Permanent Secretary, Managing Director, Ladies and gentlemen, we all know that housing is fundamental to the wellbeing of Trinbagonians and that access to safe, affordable and sustainable housing has a profound impact on a person’s ability to improve their social, health, and employment and education outcomes.
Let me assure you that the government of Trinidad and Tobago under the leadership of Keith Christopher Rowley is working assiduously to achieve our promise to the people of Trinidad and Tobago. There were some setbacks as a consequence of the Covid 19 pandemic and natural disasters some of which were triggered by the changing climate patterns we are experiencing.
Additionally, new and emerging developments in the design of urban space such as the need to reduce our carbon foot print, and building sustainable communities that are integrated and people-oriented, have led us to revisit the way urban and rural development is taking place.
As articulated in our Vision 2030, this Government sees housing as a right of citizens and has set the goal for “citizens to have access to adequate and affordable housing”. We as a government are committed to ensuring everyone has access to decent and affordable housing either through the HDC, LSA, or through other programmes of the Ministry and the private sector.
The work of the HDC in developing and implementing government’s public housing programmes, especially those for low-income families who cannot afford private rental housing, is therefore without a doubt, crucial for the development of our country as a nation.
The mandate of the HDC Board is clearly stipulated under Section 13 of the Trinidad and Tobago Housing Development Corporation Act, Chapter 33: 03. Under Section 13(1) the Board has responsibility to:
- do all things necessary and convenient for or in connection with the provision of affordable shelter and associated community facilities for low and middle income earners;
- carry on any business activity that is incidental to or
which may be performed conveniently by the Corporation or which may assist the Corporation in connection with its delivery of the services referred to in paragraph (a); and
- Implement the broad policy of the Government in relation to housing as may be directed by the Minister from time to time.
The appointment of a Board is always an occasion filled with enthusiasm, passion and tremendous hope for brighter things ahead. I wish to be clear though, that there is not only a lot of work ahead of you, but even more importantly, there are lots of families who are looking to you to achieve their lifelong dream of home ownership.
I am certain you all will recall that in December 2022, the last HDC Board, together with the Managing Director, Ms. Jayselle McFarlane and her team, established three (3) subsidiary companies of the HDC namely:
- TTHDC Construction Company Limited – who
manage all elements of HDC’s property development mandate, including land acquisition, urban planning, project and construction management and the provision of financing to undertake construction projects
- TTHDC Facilities Estate Management Company Limited – to manage all elements of HDC’s property development including the maintenance of rental housing units, the administration of the management company portfolio and partner with the Regional Corporations and other external agencies to upkeep communities and promote sustainable development.
- TTHDC Asset Management Company – responsible for completing the sales of finished housing units under its purview until final handover to HDC purchasers.
This major transformation of the HDC is expected to streamline and improve the efficiency in the delivery of the services provided by HDC to the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago. This responsibility ladies and gentlemen rests on the shoulders of the new board, and I know this Board will make the people and indeed the government of Trinidad and Tobago proud.
I believe history will remember not only the Chairman, but every member of this Board. You will be remembered as the Board that transformed the HDC into an organisation of great service to the people of Trinidad and Tobago, especially to the low to lower-middle income groups, the people who turn to, and rely on the HDC most.
As a caring government, putting people first, nurturing our greatest asset, we are very proud to say thousands of families benefitted enormously from the outgoing board. If you consider that their tenure began three years ago, it is clear that most of their time on the Board was during a pandemic. Despite those challenges, the Board was able to steer the ship. The last Board together with the Managing Director and her team have set the bar for delivering the services provided by the HDC to its clients very high.
I am confident that given the caliber of persons on the incoming Board, together with Managing Director, Ms. Jayselle McFarlane, you will form a team with that rare combination of technical expertise, strategic and holistic thinking and agility that will allow us to significantly surpass the standards set by the last Board.
I am certain that the incoming Board Members also know that they will be sitting on one of the most coveted Board seats in the housing, and indeed, the construction sector where all of you will be able to bring your individual and collective expertise and experience to bear on the work of the
HDC to directly benefit the citizens of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.
I know that the Honourable Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley joins me in saluting you all as the future champions of affordable housing in Trinidad and Tobago.
There is still one seat vacant on the Board. After consultation with the Chief Secretary of the Tobago House of Assembly, the President will soon appoint a person to serve as a representative of the Tobago House of Assembly on the
As I close let me express my confidence in this new Board. I wish to thank you all for accepting to serve and extend my congratulations to each Member of the Board. I know that under the astute Chairmanship of Mr. Noel Garcia you will combine your expertise, knowledge and skills to effectively position the HDC to achieve government’s vision and goals for housing in Trinidad and Tobago and you will establish a positive national image based on values and performance. I urge you therefore to strive for efficient, effective and cordial deliberations in the interest of the social and economic development of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.
Ladies and gentlemen, no tasks are without challenges. I would like to reaffirm the commitment of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development and myself, and offer our support wherever possible, as you discharge your duties over the next three (3) years. I wish you productive and successful deliberations during your tenure and look forward to witnessing tremendous progress and results over the next three (3) years.
I thank you.