The Ministry of Housing stated yesterday that it did not have information on its database on the ethnic or racial origin of applicants for NHA houses.
"The approved housing application form of the Housing Development Corporation (formerly NHA) which must be filled out by prospective homeowners, does not solicit information on the racial, ethnic or political background of any applicant," the ministry stated in a release yesterday.
On Monday, Housing Minister Dr Keith Rowley had been ordered by a San Fernando High Court judge to provide information to Fyzbad MP Chandresh Sharma about the ethnic composition of successful applicants for houses built by Government.
Justice Judith Jones granted a declaration that Rowley was guilty of unreasonable delay in failing to provide Sharma with the information he requested on May 17 under the Freedom of Information Act.
The judge also stated that Rowley acted in breach of the Act.
However, the ministry yesterday noted that Section 23 of the Act states that "where in relation to a request for access to a document of a public authority, a decision is made under that part that no such document exists, the public authority shall cause the applicant to be given notice in writing of the decision." (that no such document exists).
The release stated that the court ordered that the Ministry of Housing comply with Section 23 of the Act.
It said the ministry will comply with the court ruling and submit to Sharma the information where he was previously advised that no records on the race or ethnicity of applicants existed on the ministry’s database.
The ministry stated that on May 20 it received an application from Sharma for a statistical analysis according to racial origin of applicants for houses, apartments or lands from the Ministry of Housing; a list of the names and addresses of all such applicants and any other statistics kept by the ministry based on the ethnicity or race of such applicants. The ministry stated that it informed Sharma by a letter dated July 5 that it did not have information on racial origin on its database, and therefore was unable to provide this.
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