Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon. Daryl Vaz, says the Government is committed to transforming informal settlements into structured, livable neighbourhoods.
“In 2020, there should be no one living in improper infrastructure and, therefore, this Government is committed to [correcting] that,” he said.
“What is very clear is that there are informal settlements that need proper infrastructure and residents provided with titles so that we can convert some dead [capital] into wealth. Those persons will then be able to use the titles to fund their businesses or whatever opportunities they can find,” he added.
Minister Vaz was speaking following a tour of several areas in St. James, recently, where work is under way to build new houses and regularise existing communities in order to alleviate the challenges of informal settlements appearing on the north coast.
The Housing Agency of Jamaica (HAJ), under a joint venture partnership with the China-based Henan Fifth Construction Group Company Limited, is building more than 754 housing solutions at Rhyne Park to meet the housing demand for low- to middle-income workers and persons employed to the attractions and accommodations sector.
At Grange Pen, a $950-million infrastructure upgrading project is under way for the regularisation of 535 households. The initiative is being funded by the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) and is being overseen by HAJ.
The touring party included Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, as well as senior officials from the HAJ. Other areas visited were Pat Chung Lands, Orange, Retirement phase one and Pitfour phase three.
Minister Bartlett indicated that the upgrading projects at Rhyne Park and Grange Pen will help to satisfy the demand for housing and accommodation among tourism workers.
He commended Minister Vaz and the HAJ for visiting the areas.
“They brought out the full team to come and to not only tour but to evaluate the progress that has been made so far and to give some assurance to the people that they can own a home of their own and settle in their community with confidence and permanence,” he added.