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  • Minister of Justice, Senator the Hon. Mark Golding, is advocating for the implementation of legislation to allow Jamaicans, who occupy lands for extended periods to acquire the title to the property.
  • Senator Golding was addressing the Jamaica Employers’ Federation (JEF) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Breakfast at the Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston on September 22.
  • He contended that such legislation would help the many families in Jamaica living in “yards” for many years.

Minister of Justice, Senator the Hon. Mark Golding, is advocating for the implementation of legislation to allow Jamaicans, who occupy lands for extended periods to acquire the title to the property.

“I think a legislative solution (is needed) to enable those persons to acquire titles after a period of time. That is something I am interested in pursuing…I think it could impact many people in Jamaica,” he said.

Senator Golding was addressing the Jamaica Employers’ Federation (JEF) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Breakfast at the Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston on September 22.

He contended that such legislation would help the many families in Jamaica living in “yards” for many years.

“They pay very small amounts of rent for occupying that land and…even if they build on that…they can’t get a title for it. On the other hand, the titled owner of the entire yard has a property, which has multiple families living on it. They’ll never be able to sell that or mortgage it, so that land is effectively sterilised in terms of its economic potential,” he reasoned.

Minister Golding said the Government recognises that land reform and titling of land are critical for economic and social development in the country.

As such, he said, initiatives have been put in place, such as the Land Administration and Management Programme (LAMP), to make the process of acquiring a land title easier.

He noted that LAMP has done “good work,” in issuing thousands of titles to Jamaicans, at minimal cost.

LAMP is a Government initiative to help all owners of land in Jamaica to obtain certificates of title, and to update the information on existing land titles.

Minister Golding further cited the passage of the Administrator General (Amendment) Act, which enables the Administrator General to administer intestate estates (property of persons who die without making a will).

“(The legislation) speeds up the time within which the estates can be administered and relieve the probate division of the Supreme Court of thousands of cases that previously had to be brought there,” he noted.

He said it will also allow the Administrator General to settle the multi-generational estates that have been “tied up in legal limbo for decades”.

“This will enable several thousand estates that have been in abeyance for decades finally to the resolved, so that the assets can be distributed to literally tens of thousands of beneficiaries in Jamaica, and used at last for their economic advancement,” he said.

Senator Golding  said he is looking forward to seeing the benefits of that legislation in the years to come.

“I think that it is something that has enabled that department of the Administrator General to really become a transformational agency in an area, which isn’t normally thought of in that light, but is rather seen a something that is an inefficient and time-intensive process,” he said.