- Beneficiaries of the Cadastral Mapping and Titling Project are applauding the initiative.
- One thousand certificates of titles are to be delivered under the programme to persons occupying land settlement schemes.
- Some of the beneficiaries expressed gratitude for the undertaking, which has formalised the tenure of their holdings.
Beneficiaries of the Cadastral Mapping and Titling Project, being jointly undertaken by the Governments of Jamaica and Republic of (South) Korea, are applauding the initiative, which has enabled them to receive titles for property they have occupied for many years.
One thousand certificates of titles are to be delivered under the programme to persons occupying land settlement schemes in the parishes of St. Ann, St. Mary, and Portland.
Approximately 520 titles have been prepared so far, with 124 already delivered. Work is continuing to prepare the remaining documents.
Seventy of the beneficiaries were presented with their titles during a handing over ceremony at the St. Mary Parish Church Hall, Port Maria, on Friday, February 14.
Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, and Korea’s Charge d’Affaires in Jamaica, His Excellency Kimo Lim, headed the officials and special guests attending the ceremony, which marked the project’s formal conclusion.
Some of the beneficiaries, who spoke with JIS News after receiving their documents, expressed gratitude for the undertaking, which has formalised the tenure of their holdings.
Keith Tapper of Bradfield, St. Ann, said that “when you have a title, you are able to secure a lot of benefits. “I have received this title on this special (Valentine’s) Day; and for my wife, who is overseas, she will glad to see that we now have this special gift,” Mr. Tapper said.
A very grateful Patricia Robinson of Anchovy, Portland, said she was “very proud and elated” to finally get her title, adding that “words can’t express how I am feeling right now.”
“I have been waiting (a long time) for this moment, because we were settlers (for a) long time, but we didn’t have (legal) papers. We know we paid for the land (and we were advised) that we were going to get it (title), but it took some time (to be prepared).
So now, everybody is excited to get their papers. At least we know we are the real owners for (our properties) now,” she stated.
Ms. Robinson, who had high praise for the programme, said she now feels more empowered, as a woman. “The programme was good, I am so happy… that they have done something like this for us,” she added.
Marcia Parks from Port Antonio, Portland, said her title has placed her in a better position to conduct business that can assist in enhancing and advancing the welfare of her family and herself. She said the document will also ensure that she encounters no challenges in relation to verifying ownership of the land she and her family currently occupy.
“I feel good because (if) anything happens to me, my children (won’t have any difficulty) to (prove family ownership of) the land,” Ms. Parks added.
Another beneficiary, Bernetta Campbell, from St. Mary, expressed “heartfelt thanks”, for the delivery of the titles, pointing out that “good things come in small parcels.”
“Thank you (all for) doing a wonderful job. Thank you for all the hard work that you have done for us to achieve this bit of paper. It may seem small, but it is very important, and I just want to say thanks,” she said.
A project sign, which is to be placed in each community where the programme was undertaken, was also unveiled during the ceremony.
Funding, totaling just over $200 million (US$2.1million) was provided by Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), for the project, which was launched in March 2013.
The funding has provided for cadastral surveying and mapping of the 1,000 lots, and field work, conducted between March 2013 and February 2014, under the Government of Jamaica’s Land Administration and Management Programme (LAMP).
The allocation also facilitated the provision of technical expertise by the Korea Cadastral Survey Corporation (KCSC), which seconded three surveyors to the National Land Agency (NLA) to assist with the process.
Other inputs included: provision of survey and office equipment, motor vehicles, and technology transferred to Jamaica, as well as advanced training of Jamaican land surveyors in cadastral surveying and mapping in Korea, aimed at enhancing the island’s capacity in these areas.
In delivering the keynote address, Mrs. Simpson Miller informed that there are currently 344 land settlement schemes island-wide comprising approximately 50,000 lots, of which 17,000 are yet to be titled.
She noted that these schemes, established on state-owned lands, are primarily aimed at ensuring that “the most vulnerable persons in our society, the landless and poor, can own land”. She assured that the Government is accelerating efforts to make land available on special terms and conditions, so that it is affordable to those who need it the most.
The Prime Minister commended the work done under LAMP by various stakeholders to formalise and regularise land holdings across most of the island. She also expressed gratitude to the Korean Government for partnering with Jamaica to facilitate the Cadastral Mapping and Titling Project.
The Prime Minister said she anticipated “even more collaborative efforts, as we strive to make Jamaica the place of choice to live, work, raise families, and do business.”
She also commended the title recipients for diligently making the requisite payments for their land and for exercising patience during the course of the project’s implementation, noting that “many of you have been waiting a long time to get your titles.”
She reminded them of their responsibilities as property owners to fulfill their statutory obligations as well as utilise the land in a sustainable manner and preserve the environment, so that “future generations can also benefit.”
In his remarks, Mr. Lim also conveyed gratitude for the stakeholder input, which enabled the project’s implementation. He expressed the hope that “Jamaica and Korea will continue to grow and strengthen the bonds of friendship through continued cooperation.”
Water, Land, Environment, and Climate Change Minister, Hon. Robert Pickersgill, in his remarks, indicated that land titling remains a priority of the Government of Jamaica, and assured that “we will, therefore, constantly seek innovative ways to make the process of land ownership simpler and more affordable.”
Minister without Portfolio, Ministry of Transport, Works, and Housing, and Central St. Mary Member of Parliament, Hon. Dr. Morais Guy, described provision of the titles as “a major turning point for the residents of St. Mary, St. Ann, and Portland.” This, as it “signals renewed pride… a re-branded hope and, most importantly, it represents the tangible empowerment of our people.”
Other speakers included: Port Maria Mayor, Councillor Levan Freeman; LAMP Chairperson Elise Wright-Goffe; and Chief Executive Officer, NLA, Elizabeth Stair.
Implementation of the project is consistent with the government’s strategic focus on job creation and economic growth, and also effective social inclusion through the provision of housing solutions and ownership.