Newly reappointed Minister of Transport and Mining, Hon. Robert Montague, says he plans to see to the completion of the process for the issuing of land titles to approximately 5,000 families, who have been occupying bauxite lands for several years.
Mr. Montague was outlining his priorty areas to JIS News following the swearing-in of Cabinet Ministers at King’s House on Sunday (Sept. 13).
“Where a person’s land was discovered to have bauxite on it, they were assigned a new lot. In many cases, some were even given houses but they were never given titles to the new bit of land and that is something…that we intend to correct. We had made great progress in the last term and we intend to complete that,” he said.
As it relates to ground transport, Mr. Montegue told JIS News that the Ministry intends to complete the Road Traffic Act regulations, the public sector transport industry reforms, and will be focused on modernising and re-fleeting the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC).
“We are also looking to automate the driver’s licence and motor vehicle fitness processes and we will be moving to have most of our services online,” he added.
Outlining priorities for the civil aviation industry, Mr. Montague said that the Ministry is looking at utilising a satellite-based air navigation system, so that “rather than having our planes stay 40 miles part when they fly over Jamaica, we would move them up by 10 miles apart.”
Turning to the maritime portfolio, Minister Montague told JIS News that among the priority areas is completion of the maritime environmental bill.
He noted that Jamaica has already signed on to the Convention, through which the Government can access funds to protect the island’s maritime resources from environmental threats such as an oil spill.
He pointed out, however, that without the law, the country will not be able to access those funds.
He noted that work will also be advanced on the Maritime Labour Convention Act which, he noted, will open up employment opportunities in the cruise ship industry as soon as it resumes.
Mr. Montague told JIS News that he is “very honoured” that the Prime Minister has reappointed him to the Cabinet and has returned him to the Transport Ministry.
He said that among his achievements during the last term was starting the process to modernise the transport sector through a 16-point plan, as well as initiating the procedure for the reorganisation of motor vehicle fitness.
He said that at the end of his tenure in the Transport Minstry “I hope to bequeath Jamaica with a modern transport system, bring back the railway and ensure that persons, who should get their titles, finally get them and to treat with the environmental threats to our maritime resources.”
The sitting Member of Parliament for Western St. Mary, Minister Montague has also served as National Security Minister, Minister of Agriculture, and Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for Local Government.
At the regional and international levels, he served as the Chairman of the Commonwealth Local Government Forum, Chairman of the Caribbean Forum of Local Government Ministers, and President of the Caribbean Association of Local Government Authorities.