JIS News

The Ministry of Water and Housing and the Housing Agency of Jamaica (formerly the NHDC), is to collaborate with the Retirement II Provident Society, to provide 1,002 house lots with an average size of 4,000 square feet, in Retirement, St James.
“We will be working with the Provident Society, which is one of the best run in Jamaica, to try to deliver the lots, starting the first quarter of 2009,” Minister of Water and Housing, Dr. Horace Chang, told JIS News.
The Minister said that Government would be working to bring on stream several of the former Operation PRIDE schemes, which were put on hold or were not completed for various reasons.
“Success follows success … I would rather have 10 completed Operation PRIDE schemes than have a lot of uncompleted ones,” the Minister told representatives of the Retirement II Provident Society, who visited his 25 Dominica Drive offices in New Kingston on September 24.
As at September 2008, there are close to 100 named PRIDE sites situated in locations islandwide, with the capacity to provide approximately 31,000 housing and shelter solutions. So far, some 16,000 splinter titles have been provided for these solutions.
A splinter title is one that facilitates the individual holder who wants to use it to access loan funds to pay for the land. Once the payment is made, the holder will receive a legal title, on which the lending institution may take a lien to secure the loan.
Dr. Chang said that about 90 per cent of the potential beneficiaries of the Retirement II Scheme are National Housing Trust (NHT) contributors. The development was aimed at civil servants and government workers, including nurses, policemen and teachers.
The Provident Society had contracted a company to do structural work on the site, but terminated their services. They also paid for the Jamaica Public Service Company to provide access to electricity. Infrastructural work, including the laying of water and sewage pipes and road construction started on the site, but was never completed.
The project has been dormant since 2003, and has provided safe haven for squatters, a situation that Minister Chang said would not be allowed to get out of hand.
The land has been transferred to the Ministry of Housing, which gives the Ministry the legal right to remove informal settlers. The Minister pointed out that while the Ministry intends to do just that, he has no intention of putting them out on the streets.
“There is another plot of land nearby, which can be used to place those who are removed from the Retirement II area,” he said.
Dr. Chang told JIS News that the squatters would be allowed to purchase land on the alternative site.