KINGSTON — Robert Campbell and Joyce Rose seemed at a loss for words to express the joy and gratitude they felt after receiving titles for properties they occupy in Sligoville, St. Catherine last week.
The two were among some 50 persons from the community, which is the site of Jamaica’s first free village, who were presented with certificates of title processed under the Land Administration and Management Programme (LAMP).
“If it wasn’t for LAMP today, many of us who are here could not receive our titles, so let us big up LAMP,” said Mr. Campbell at the handing over ceremony held at the Sligoville Baptist Church.
Mrs. Rose, a senior citizen, who represented her daughter, said she was surprised the document was processed in a relatively short period of time. The bashful Mrs. Rose, who displayed sparks of youthful exuberance, voiced her gratitude with an emphatic “thanks, thanks, many thanks”.
Another recipient, Uriah Burke, described LAMP as the “light” to property ownership for many residents, noting that their fore parents found themselves in a similar position.
“But we (have) come, today, to know what a title is like and how important it is,” he said, noting that the recipients would now be able to leave a lasting legacy for their children and succeeding generations.
“They would have their title and would not have to go through the problem that we (had to) go through to set the foundation. I thank…each and everyone… (for bringing) LAMP to us in St. Catherine,” Mr. Burke said.
Sophia Griffiths, in responding on behalf of all the beneficiaries, said she was honoured to be listed among the many recipients of titles. She noted that since LAMP’s inception, many rural citizens, in particular, have been enjoying the benefits the initiative provides.
“Many of us have collected what could only have been possible, at this time, under this venture and even moreso, because of the extreme economic crisis that we are experiencing,” she said.
In extending gratitude, Ms. Griffiths thanked LAMP’s representatives for their patience in processing the applications, quipping that “some of us took a long time to sign up the documents”.
“Some of you had to really come and get it from us; thank you very much for the extensive work that you have done. Many of us can now go to the National Housing Trust (NHT) to advance our dreams (of) owning our very own homes. We are really appreciative of the LAMP project,” Ms. Griffiths said to applause.
LAMP’s Acting Project Director, Lisa Campbell, used the occasion to pay tribute to her predecessor, Gloria Brown. She said that the LAMP and the former Project Director were “totally synonymous."
“I will go on record, and I know that this will be supported by all team members, (in saying that) we miss her dearly, every single day, every hour in the day. (Her’s) are very large shoes to fill; that is a standard that is to be emulated. We hope that we, because of her steadfast ways, humility, and love for the people, can continue to serve the way we are supposed to serve, humbly and without any fanfare,” Ms. Campbell said.
A programme of the Office of the Prime Minister, LAMP was created in 2000 to address the large amount of unregistered lots island-wide. Under the programme, persons are assisted to secure titles for land, which they occupy but for which they have no formal documentation.
Fees charged by LAMP are significantly less than those that obtain on the open market.
By DOUGLAS McINTOSH, JIS Reporter