Construction work on a major housing development at Bernard Lodge in St. Catherine is scheduled to begin in April this year.
Transport, Works and Housing Minister, Dr. the Hon. Omar Davies, informed journalists at a media briefing at the Ministry on Friday (February 15) that the Housing Agency of Jamaica Limited (HAJL) is currently in discussions with United States-based firm, Malphus International, to facilitate financing and construction of the units under a Public-Private Partnership (PPP).
The land earmarked for the development is owned by the Government of Jamaica, and Dr. Davies explained that “the plans envisage the construction of just under 1600 detached studio and one bedroom units with the estimated selling price ranging between $4 million and $5 million”. The development will be undertaken in five phases over a three-year period, with an average of 300 units earmarked for construction in each phase.
Statistics provided by the Ministry show that the HAJL delivered some 2,085 housing solutions during the 2012/13 financial year. These include: 1185 in St. James; 74 in St. Catherine; 400 in Westmoreland; 196 in St. Mary; 180 in Trelawny; and 50 in St. Andrew.
On the matter of the Jamaica Land Titling Programme, Dr. Davies informed that between June 2012 and January, approximately 638 titles were processed and delivered to persons found to be occupying properties informally for several years. He further advised that the Government is moving to increase the number of titles which are issued.
He pointed out that the Ministry is currently undertaking spatial and socio-economic assessments of squatter settlements to determine the appropriate interventions necessary.
“There are varying estimates as to the size of the population of squatters on the island; and in order to embark on projects, we need to verify not just the locations, but the actual number of persons who fall under that category,” Dr. Davies said.