A Government indemnity has been granted to Food for the Poor, which will enable the charity organisation to “fast track” construction of some 500 houses for Hurricane Sandy victims in three eastern parishes.
The indemnity will protect the charity against any claim, action, lawsuit, loss or damage that might arise from any claims of infringement of proprietary rights in its construction of the houses under its agreement with the Government.
Minister with responsibility for Information, Senator the Hon. Sandrea Falconer, who made the disclosure at the weekly Jamaica House press briefing, said the indemnity will deal with challenges such as proof of tenure to the lands on which the units are to be built.
She explained that a majority of the persons affected by the hurricane, for which houses are to be built, were not able to provide a title for their lands.
Miss Falconer noted that “due to the emergency nature of the programme and following consultations with the Attorney-General, the indemnity was approved”.
The houses are being built for families in the parishes of Portland, St. Thomas and St. Mary.
Minister with responsibility for Housing, Hon. Dr. Morais Guy, stated that the indemnity was vital for the continuation of the project.
“It relates primarily to family lands where the beneficiaries are unable, at this time, in the manner that is required, to provide evidence of legal access, so we are providing this indemnity to Food for the Poor, until we are able to get those proper documentations in place,” he explained.
The initiative to construct Food for the Poor houses across the island started before Hurricane Sandy, under a partnership agreement between the Government of Jamaica and the charity, with partial funding from the Pedro Caribe Fund.
Following the passage of Hurricane Sandy in October, the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing, proposed a shift in the project to focus on the replacement of units that were destroyed in the three targeted parishes.