Several new landowners in St. James are expressing gratitude to the Government for making their dream of homeownership a reality, through the presentation of titles under the National Land Titling Programme.
During a ceremony held recently at the Social Development Commission (SDC) parish office at Albion Road, a total of 67 beneficiaries received certificates of title for property they have long occupied at Norwood, Lilliput, Meadowsvale, Pitfour, and Retirement Phases one and two.
The land-titling programme, undertaken by the Housing Agency of Jamaica (HAJ) since 2012, seeks to regularise informally occupied lands by providing eligible residents with land titles.
Since the start of the programme, the HAJ has issued more than 9,000 titles.
Saskia Gordon-Manderson, who lives at Retirement Phase 2, told JIS News that she is pleased to finally have a title in her hand as proof that she owns her own property.
She praised the HAJ for the seamless process in acquiring the title.
“It feels good knowing that you own a small part of your country and I am really happy right now. I would really like to say thank you to the HAJ team. I really think they are doing a good job. I must say that the process that I went through was not tedious at all. It was really good,” Mrs. Gordon-Manderson said.
She added that the property is a lasting legacy that will be passed down to her children.
“It means a lot because it provides a level of security to myself and my family,” she noted.
Now that she has her title in hand, Mrs. Gordon-Manderson shared that she will commence construction on the property.
Another beneficiary, Patrick Stern, who has been calling Retirement Phase 2 home for two years now, said that the HAJ has made his dream of owning “a piece of the soil” a reality.
“It is a great feeling to have accomplished something that most people would dream about. As a family man, I think I am setting an example for my children to follow and I hope they do. Overall, it is a good feeling and I really appreciate it,” he said.
For her part, Latesha Kirton thanked the HAJ for “holding the hands of the beneficiaries” through the land-titling process.
“I would like to express our sincere gratitude. Truly, this is a life-changing day for us all as you have assisted in making our dreams become a reality. I also want to thank Ms. Jennings and her team at Retirement 2 Providence Society and Mr. Norman Brown and the team at the Housing Agency of Jamaica for facilitating this process and providing encouragement to make this day a reality for us,” she said.
Managing Director at the HAJ, Gary Howell, encouraged the recipients to recognise the value of their title, noting that it can be used as collateral to acquire a loan from financial institutions.
“Titling is a very important event. This is a point where you are getting something to show your right to this parcel of land that you have been occupying for so long. This is an important event for all of you and I hope that you will make the next step and keep your place secure. Also, put up this document that you received today very carefully because it has significant value,” he points out.
Minister of Housing, Urban Renewal, Environment and Climate Change, Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr, who presented the titles to the beneficiaries, told them that they now have a responsibility to develop their communities in a meaningful way.
“That community development, that stability must now lead to national development; it must lead to a more resilient economy, a stronger social fabric and a greener, more sustainable Jamaica.
“Our goal is to ensure that we empower you, encourage you not only to own your own home but to integrate the practices in your community that will help Jamaica to develop in a sustainable way,” he said.