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  • Minister of Agriculture, Labour and Social Security, Hon. Derrick Kellier, on Friday (February 27) presented some 100 residents of Hertford/Morass Lane in Westmoreland with official certificates of possession for lands they have been living on for decades.
  • The handing over ceremony was held at the Hertford New Testament Church of God, Petersfield, Westmoreland.
  • Mr. Kellier noted that the long term goals of the housing project was the regularization of communities and provision of lands to more than 2,256 families or some 10,560 individuals living on the estates.

Minister of Agriculture, Labour and Social Security, Hon. Derrick Kellier, on Friday (February 27) presented some 100 residents of Hertford/Morass Lane in Westmoreland with official certificates of possession for lands they have been living on for decades.

The handing over ceremony was held at the Hertford New Testament Church of God, Petersfield, Westmoreland.

The presentation of certificates forms part of a process which will allow approximately 800 families of former sugar workers who have been living on these lands for a number of years, the opportunity of property/home ownership.

In delivering the main address, Mr. Kellier congratulated the recipients while noting the very important and significant step that have been taken by residents towards becoming legitimate home owners in possession of their legal titles.

“For many long years both you and your forebears have toiled long and hard on the sugar estates and today promises a phenomenal turning point for you and your families and for future generations,” Mr. Kellier said.

He informed that as part of the transformation process in sugar dependent areas, the government has recognized the dire need for the provision of improved housing for estate workers and their families.

“In response to the decades-old problem, the Government of Jamaica is undertaking a comprehensive programme of transformation in our sugar dependent communities to address social infrastructure and socio-economic issues in these communities,” the Agriculture Minister said.

He pointed out that through the Sugar Area Development Programme being implemented by the Sugar Transformation Unit (STU), with grant funding from the European Union, some $6.12 billion has been spent on improvement Projects Island -wide.

Some of these projects include: provision of housing units under the Barracks Relocation Programme, at a cost of $2.4 billion; cane road and regional drain projects implemented at a cost of $500 million; social infrastructure projects implemented at a cost of $1.4 billion; and the cane expansion fund implemented at a cost of $1.82 billion.

In addition to the work being done by the STU, government, through the Sugar Company of Jamaica (SCJ) Holdings Limited is undertaking a Housing Development and Community Regularization Programme across all six government owned sugar estates in the parishes of St. Catherine, Clarendon, Westmoreland, St. Thomas and Trelawny to provide housing solutions.

Mr. Kellier noted that the long term goals of the housing project was the regularization of communities and provision of lands to more than 2,256 families or some 10,560 individuals living on the estates.

“This handing over ceremony is a very appropriate way in which to celebrate. We want this project and this community to be a model one and so I am calling on all the stakeholders involved, all the residents and all the agencies to work harmoniously to ensure its success,” he stated.