A total of 1,000 residents of St. Ann, St. Mary and Portland are to receive titles to the properties they occupy.
The provision is being made under the Cadastral Mapping and Land Registration project, which involves collaboration between the Government and the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA).
The first nine residents from communities in the three parishes, were on Friday (March 8), presented with titles, at the official launch of the project in Port Maria, St. Mary.
The cadastral mapping project, being undertaken with investment of more than US$2 million by the Korea Cadastral Survey Corporation (KCSC), over the next two years, is an expansion of the second phase of the Land Administration and Management Programme (LAMP). KCSC has the option of spending a further US$26 million over 10 years, thereafter.
Minister of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, Hon. Robert Pickersgill, who represented Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller at the launch, underscored the administration’s commitment to providing Jamaicans with secure land tenure.
This, he said, is a critical plank in building a country “where social responsibility and pride in self, community, and nation are not alien concepts to our people, but are ingrained”.
He noted that only 450,000 parcels of the island’s hundreds of thousands of lands are listed on the Register Book of Titles, and the cadastral mapping project will improve the land registration system, while facilitating accurate records of registered properties.
The project, he said, is also expected to yield significant economic benefits for farmers, as, with a registered title, they will be able to access micro credit to increase productivity.
“The Government of Jamaica is happy to partner with the Korean government…to strengthen the land titling system in Jamaica. We are deeply grateful…and look forward to the benefits that will come to us all,” Mr. Pickersgill stated.
Minister with responsibility for Housing, Hon. Dr. Morais Guy, in welcoming the project, said that land ownership is a pivotal “economic tool” in Jamaica’s development.
He encouraged the beneficiaries of the land titles to “utilise this asset” for their personal development and, in the process, “help to develop this country”.
LAMP’s Project Director, Lisa Campbell, while noting that the 1,000 titles targeted for delivery may seem small, said the number is significant “in any one or two-year period.”
The Project Director said the cadastral mapping project demonstrates the principle of joined-up government at work, noting the input of other Ministries and agencies namely: the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development, National Land Agency (NLA), Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), and the parish councils. “Everyone understands the need…that we are trying to fulfill, and we are working towards it,” she stated.
“This is about empowering the people, this is about building Jamaica; this is about us moving forward with a clear mission for Vision 2030 Jamaica,” Ms. Campbell added.
Under the Cadastral Mapping and Land Registration project, land surveying equipment, computers, software, and three motor vehicles will be transferred to the LAMP project unit, in addition to the provision of training for officers.
Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Jamaica, His Excellency Kimo Lim, formally handed over several pieces of the equipment and one of the motor vehicles to Minister Pickersgill during Friday’s launch.
LAMP was established by the Government in 2000 as part of efforts to provide titles for the reported high number of unregistered parcels of land island-wide. The initiative, which was launched as a pilot project in St. Catherine, was subsequently expanded in 2010 to include several additional parishes under an agreement between the Ministry and KCSC, in collaboration with local firm, Geoland Title Limited.
By Douglas McIntosh, JIS Reporter