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Story Highlights

  • Forty residents of Donaldson in Eastern St. Thomas have received land titles for serviced lots in the community, from the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing.
  • Minister without Portfolio in the Transport, Works and Housing Ministry, Hon. Dr. Morais Guy, who was the guest speaker, said the government’s undertaking of the land titling programme is in recognition of the fact that for Jamaica’s economy and people to grow and prosper “you (must) do something with the assets of this country.”
  • Managing Director of the HAJ, Karl Bennett, underscored the importance of having a title, which he said “makes a difference in the quality your lives.” He pointed out that the document can, among other things, enable the holder to access resources to carry out various activities.

Forty residents of Donaldson in Eastern St. Thomas have received land titles for serviced lots in the community, from the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing.

The recipients were presented with the documents, which formalize their holdings, during a ceremony at the Hampton Court community centre in St. Thomas, on Friday (February 7).

The lots, which are adjacent to communities such as Duckenfield and Golden Grove, are among 436 developed by the Housing Agency of Jamaica (HAJ), which falls under the Ministry, at a cost of $26 million.

The development was undertaken after Health Minister and Member of Parliament, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson, made representation to the Ministry, at the request of the residents through the Donaldson Provident Society, to have the previously leased lands, converted to residential holdings, and arrangements made for them to be purchased by the residents.

Minister without Portfolio in the Transport, Works and Housing Ministry, Hon. Dr. Morais Guy, who was the guest speaker, said the government’s undertaking of the land titling programme is in recognition of the fact that for Jamaica’s economy and people to grow and prosper “you (must) do something with the assets of this country.”

“What we are creating here (by delivering the titles) is an opportunity for the entire community and, by extension, the entire country to grow out of poverty. When you grow the economy, when people pay their taxes, when the economy is thriving, what it means is that there is more funding to attend to the social needs of a community and a country,” he stated.

Dr. Guy also underscored the beneficiaries’ responsibilities as legitimate property holders. “We (government) are empowering you. But with that empowerment comes certain responsibilities. Responsibility to pay your property taxes…form a good citizens association…take care of your community..(and) make sure that the scourge of crime and violence does not come into your community,” he contended.

Dr. Guy argued that the land titling programme has the potential to grow the economy, and encouraged the title holders to play their part in this process.

“Use (your title) judiciously; use it wisely. Use it to do something for yourselves, your children, and your community and (in so doing),…you will have been contributing to the development of this country,” he added.

In his remarks, Dr. Ferguson described Friday’s proceedings as a “good day” for the community, while commending the recipients on their efforts in ensuring that their holdings are formalised.

“What this title will allow you to do is…use it as security for business. It (will also) prevent some of the problems that, oftentimes, emerge when one dies without a will and you don’t have a title or any (other legitimate) document to show ownership,” he said, while expressing gratitude to the Ministry, the HAJ, and other stakeholders for advancing the titling process.

Managing Director of the HAJ, Karl Bennett, underscored the importance of having a title, which he said “makes a difference in the quality your lives.” He pointed out that the document can, among other things, enable the holder to access resources to carry out various activities.

He advised that the titles presented on Friday are among the first 180 of the 436 being prepared, which are ready for delivery. In this regard, he urged the initial recipients to encourage their colleagues to undertake the necessary arrangements to secure their documents.

“(Some persons) don’t realize the value of a title. You are getting something that many…only dream about. You now have, believe it or not, equity in land that you can do a variety of things with, including converting it to cash when the need (arises),” Mr. Bennett added.

President of the Donaldson Provident Society, Patrick Mitchell, described the having the titles as “a dream come true”, adding that “a lot of people feel very good (about it) now.”

“It will go a long way to further advance development of the community and parish. This will also boost the morale of the people (knowing) that they can get or have received a piece of land for them and their families to live on. It’s a good thing…today is an historic day for the people and…it’s a great achievement,” Mr. Mitchell said.

Another recipient, Marcia Christian described the proceedings as “an awesome experience.”

“To God be the glory. After a long wait, trying to put the money together (to make the necessary down payment), we have done so. It is a dream come true,” she added.