JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Homeowners in the Ebony Parkhave finally received the priceless document, after waiting for more than 30-years to formalize their holdings.
  • The recipients were among 110 beneficiaries earmarked to receive titles. The remaining 40 certificates will be issued to the other residents following the completion formalities, inclusive of their signing the documents.
  • This engagement forms part of the government’s priority strategy for effective social inclusion to uplift and empower citizens.

As the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing intensifies its efforts to deliver titles to property holders island-wide, the latest recipients to benefit from this undertaking are homeowners in the Ebony Park Housing Scheme in Clarendon.

They have finally received the priceless document, after waiting for more than 30-years to formalize their holdings.

Ebony Park was developed in 1979 under the Project Oasis initiative, which targeted the provision of housing solutions, and lands for young farmers, in an effort to boost agricultural production for subsistence and export.

The development was financed with funding allocated by the Organization of American States (OAS), and supported with technical assistance provided by the Government of Israel.

On October 11, some 70 persons, mostly farmers, publicly expressed their joy when they opened the large brown envelopes they received, containing their titles, which were presented during an official handing over ceremony in the community.

The recipients were among 110 beneficiaries earmarked to receive titles. The remaining 40 certificates will be issued to the other residents following the completion formalities, inclusive of their signing the documents.

“I am feeling so good. Words cannot explain how I am feeling. I heard about the titles coming through; but seeing the reality this evening, it gives me cold bumps. I just feel in my body, a different feeling,” said farmer, Napthali Morant.

Mr. Morant cultivates pumpkins, potatoes, onions, and banana on the farm land he occupies, and used the proceeds from generated from previous harvests to improve his house and finance the education of his four children, Nordia, Marlon, Tashnia, and Melissa. They are now married and are also happy to see their father finally getting his title.

Mr. Morant says he is “in no hurry” to use his title for any transaction at this time and just wants to “keep it safe”. “I am already going forward with my crops; so the title will be put up safely while I continue with my crops,” he told JIS News.

Another recipient, Michael Plummer,says he began farming in Ebony Vale in 1979, and currently cultivates hot peppers, cassava, pumpkin, and most vegetables. He explains that the community has developed significantly, since its establishment.

“When we came here, it was all wood land. (But) a lot of development has taken place since then,” he said, citing construction of the HEART Academy among the examples of infrastructural development taking place.

He, too, is elated at receiving his title. “Having your title, now, can assist with our farming. I am presently doing active farming and one of the small farmer’s biggest challenges is finance. So this title can help us in this aspect,” he said.

For Elaine Thompson-Ranger, getting her title is “like icing on the cake”, while her friend, Anjella Beezer, could not contain her joy.

“This is the greatest achievement I could ever get. There is nothing more important than this. I don’t need anything more; I just want life now, to enjoy what I have,” Mrs. Beezer said.

Among the other joyful recipients were two members of the Clarendon Parish Council, Deputy Chairman and Councillor for the York Town Division, Councillor Uphel Purcell, and Councillor Godfrey Knight of the Toll Gate Division. They, too, have resided in the community since its fledgling years.

Speaking at the presentation ceremony, Minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing, Hon. Dr. Morais Guy, noted the importance of the titling exercise in renewing social and economic activities, particularly in rural communities. This, he indicated, by the holder using the document as collateral for business transactions or financing their children’s education, among other pursuits.

“This is, indeed, a life-changing document, and we are working harder to put more power in the hands of the people. Home ownership is one of the cornerstones of community and family development, and we will continue to work assiduously to advance the welfare of the Jamaican people,” Dr. Guy said.

He also informed that the Ministry’s land titling programme will be further accelerated with the aim of bringing joy to an additional estimated 5000 persons by the end of the 2013/14 fiscal year.  This engagement forms part of the government’s priority strategy for effective social inclusion to uplift and empower citizens.

Earlier this year, while making his contribution to the 2013/14 sectoral debate, Dr. Guy noted the countless financial possibilities which property titles can unlock for the holders, which can yield both local and national economic benefits.

This, he pointed out, would yield a rippling effect in spurring economic growth and development, and raising many Jamaicans standard of living.