MONTEGO BAY – Seventeen residents of the Martha Brae in Trelawny received titles to their lands at a ceremony held in the community on Friday, May 3, under a titling initiative being carried out by the Housing Agency of Jamaica (HAJ),
Minister with responsibility for Housing, Hon. Dr. Morais Guy, who handed out the titles, told the residents that some of them had waited up to 25 years to receive their titles, and should now use it with diligence, by investing in ways which would allow them to contribute to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“We have taken a decision as a Ministry, and as a Government, that we are not going to wait until everybody has settled final cents of the total cost of the land before we issue the titles. We can’t wait until 15 or 20 years when all the infrastructures are in place; you are getting your titles now, but you have a responsibility over a period of time to contribute to the incremental development of the infrastructure,” he said.
He told the landowners that having titles will allow them to take advantage of many opportunities. “You can use it as collateral to invest in a business, to send your children to school. Whatever you do with that title, you are creating some form of economic activity. It redounds to the benefit of the country when economic activity increases, because you are building GDP,” Minister Guy said.
He pointed out that during the 2012/2013 financial year the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing, empowered persons with over 1,000 titles, and would this year accelerate that programme.
However, he said that there would be no tolerance for persons who seek to take over lands and try to benefit from this regularization initiative.”Where there have been occupations over a period of time, and certain amount regularization, the Ministry will take the step to ensure that it is legal, and you are given your titles. But, we have to put an end to squatting … it can’t continue, it has to be done in a structured way, and this is what this Government is about,” he stated.
Following the devastation of Hurricane Gilbert in 1988, the residents were relocated to the area. It was later acquired by the Government through the Operation PRIDE Programme. The site has 47 lots.
Contact Garfield L. Angus