JIS News

More than 95 residents of St. Thomas were yesterday (April 21) presented with certificates of title to formalise their ownership of properties.
The move was facilitated under the Government’s Land Administration and Management Programme (LAMP), which seeks to regularise land ownership across the island.
At the presentation of the documents at the Yallahs Seventh Day Adventist Church, Minister of Energy and Mining and Member of Parliament for West St. Thomas, Hon. James Robertson, congratulated the beneficiaries, many of whom had waited a long time for their titles.
“This is the day when you become the master of your lives. (With your land title, you) can create wealth. It allows you to put a roof over your head and offer protection for generations to come, based on your hard work,” he said.
LAMP’s Project Director, Ms. Gloria Brown, informed that another 800 titles were being processed for St. Thomas, many of which will be ready shortly.
“We are going to be expanding in the parish, we are going to be moving into . the different communities and try to help as many of you as possible,” she said.
LAMP began as a pilot project in St. Catherine in April 2000 through funding from the Government of Jamaica and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and has been extended to St. Thomas, St. Elizabeth, Clarendon and parts of Manchester, with plans to include all of Manchester and St. Mary.
More than 2,000 titles have been issued over the last 10 years and another 10,000 are being processed.
“LAMP has assisted individuals by setting up offices in the communities. We don’t allow you to come into Kingston; we borrow the churches in the communities, the community centres, and we try to meet you where you are in order to save you the expense of having to come into Kingston,” the Project Manager said.
Ms. Brown encouraged the new landowners to keep the documents safe, and protect their land. She also thanked the National Land Agency, Titles Office, Survey Department, and the Stamp Office, which are partner agencies in the land regularisation process.
Mayor of Morant Bay, Councillor Hanif Brown, congratulated LAMP for “the tremendous work it has been doing over the years,” including hosting workshops aimed at increasing land titling and registration as well as overall public awareness.
Noting that St. Thomas has some 286.8 square miles of land, most of which is unused arable land, the Mayor pointed out that land tenure is critical to rural development and the empowerment of residents.
“Right to one of the most powerful resources available to people to increase and extend their collection of assets and promote future development,” he said.
Member of Parliament for Eastern St. Thomas, Dr. Fenton Ferguson, also lauded the Government for continuing the LAMP initiative, noting that he was pleased that the programme would be expanded to more areas. He encouraged the recipients to use their titles wisely, noting that it is a “liberating force.”
Beneficiary, Ms. Lena Williams, said she was overjoyed, relieved and grateful that she had her documents in hand after 13 years. “I came to LAMP on the first of October last year and when I got my call from LAMP on April 1, I was (ecstatic),” she shared.
Another beneficiary, Ms. Gloria Bogle, praised the LAMP team for not only working quickly to provide the titles, but noted that they “are very nice and courteous”. She encouraged other beneficiaries to spread the news about LAMP’s “wonderful work.”
Through the regularisation of land ownership, persons can procure loans from banks and other lending institutions and increase their income earning potential.

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