Some 20,000 land titles are to be delivered to Operation PRIDE beneficiaries this year, as Government continues to formalise land settlement across the country so as to create orderly communities.
Minister with responsibility for Housing, Hon Dr. Morais Guy, said that the titles are ready and “my responsibility and my action this year is to clear out all those titles out of the vault and put them into the hands of the people."
He was speaking at the handing over of titles to 54 residents of Retirement in St. James by the Housing Agency of Jamaica (HAJ) at a ceremony held on September 20, 2012 at the Howard Cooke Primary School.
The Minister committed to having personnel from the HAJ return to the area to distribute titles to other beneficiaries, who have completed the necessary documentation and payments.
He said that Government is moving to speed up the land titling process under Operation Pride, noting that for too many Jamaicans have lived on lands without any proof of ownership, even when they are the rightful owners.
He urged the new land owners to use their titles for productive ventures. "It gives you currency; it gives you the ability to go places that otherwise people would think that you can’t go…you are utilising your own asset to ensure that you can better yourself. You can make your community grow, you can make your country grow," he noted.
With the titles, residents can now access loans from the National Housing Trust (NHT) and other financial institutions for housing expansion, and for business and personal use.
It will also enable them to formalise access to water and electricity, and receive services from groups that are supporting community development.
Member of Parliament for West Central St. James, Hon. Sharon Ffolkes-Abrahams, who spoke at the function, urged the residents to work for further development of the community.
Mayor of Montego Bay, Councillor Glendon Harris, for his part, called on the community groups to remain vibrant, and create a united front against criminal elements.