JIS News

The Sugar Company of Jamaica (SCJ) Holdings Limited has been instructed to form a lease management unit that will better manage arrangements made for the lease of agricultural lands in the Greater Bernard Lodge Development.

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, made the disclosure during a press conference at SCJ Holdings Limited in St. Catherine on Friday (June 25), after a stakeholders’ tour of the project site.

He noted that in the past, arrangements for the lease of farmlands in the Bernard Lodge area have been “very informal”, which has caused some challenges.

“One of the challenges that we met upon was that persons may have had the benefit of a lease of lands for many years and never used it and other persons come and take over the lease and have no arrangements with the SCJ.

“Persons would have sublet [that is], leased to one person, who then sublet it to 10 or 20 other persons. Those things create quite a bit of confusion, but the greatest challenge is that these lands would have been leased to persons, many of whom never paid a dollar on the lease… that can’t continue,” Mr. Holness said.

He noted that under the new arrangement, a performance clause will be incorporated in the lease agreements with farmers.

“Every lease that is given within that 1,300 acres [reserved for farming] they must perform. Meaning that, you can’t lease the land and have it sit down there doing nothing when there are other persons who would like to lease the land,” Mr. Holness said.

He said most of the leases are “very reasonable”.

 

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