JIS News

A special Adjudication Committee is to be set up by the Land Administration and Management Programme (LAMP), in the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), to determine ownership of some 194 parcels of property in the Narine Lands area of Old Harbour Bay, St. Catherine.
Project Director for LAMP, Gloria Brown, told JIS News that the Special Provisions Act (2005) facilitates the establishment of such a committee, the need for which results from challenges the land holders have faced upwards of the last 20 years, in securing titles to regularise ownership of the lots.
“This Adjudication Committee will comprise an Attorney-at-Law, a Land Surveyor, a Justice of the Peace from the area, among others, to determine ownership for land parcels where claimants have produced no documentation. We are going to be setting up this committee to determine who should get which lot,” Ms. Brown noted.
The 194 lots were subsumed into 360 acres of property, including Narine Lands, that were acquired by a resident in the area in 1987, and who eventually secured a title for all of the lands. Narine Lands was reportedly subdivided and sold in the 1940s by the original owner, after whom the property was named.
Consequent on the landholders’ unsuccessful attempts to resolve their issues, the Ministry of Housing intervened and successfully negotiated the transfer of 65 acres of the land, representing the 250 lots, from the person who acquired the property in 1987. The title was eventually transferred to LAMP’s custody, with the agency conducting surveys in 2002/03 and, thereafter, commencing the necessary paperwork to formalise the residents’ holdings.
Ms. Brown informed that currently, LAMP has completed documentation for 56 of the 250 lots. However, she pointed to several challenges, which have necessitated the constitution of the committee.
“A number of persons, over the years, have died. So, we will have to probate the wills and administer the estates. Another major challenge we have is that, because of what was done by the (previous property holder) and the fact that the issue was not sorted out before LAMP came on stream, a number of persons went ahead and sold portions of their properties. So, even though we have a map showing that a property, for example, is one acre, the property has been cut up into four lots,” she said.
“That is a challenge, because you cannot afford to give the man a one-acre title, which includes the portion he has sold.The legal team at LAMP will have to deal with situations like that and the committee will help us to determine who gets which parcel,” the Project Director added.
Ms. Brown said that LAMP hopes to have the titles for the 56 persons ready within a few months, pointing out that the transfers are at the Stamp Office.
“This is one of many such problems that we are trying to solve all over Jamaica. Throughout the island, there are many land parcels that families have owned and have sold and there is no progress in titling these parcels. I think LAMP is now one of the main places where individuals can come to have their property issues solved,” she said.
Persons seeking assistance with land tenure issues may contact LAMP at 927-1731-50, 927-1893 or 977-6087.

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