KINGSTON — Acting Project Director for the Land Administration and Management Programme (LAMP), Lisa Campbell, has emphasised the need for a mindset change in how persons deal with issues pertaining to land, particularly titling and subdividing.
Speaking at the presentation of titles to beneficiaries of Sligoville, St. Catherine, at the Sligoville Baptist Church, on April 7, Ms. Campbell cited “many deep-rooted issues,” some cultural, currently impacting the land titling process, and lamented the ad hoc manner of some landholders regarding their properties.
She argued that land is “not a commodity to be traded like rice, flour and sugar,” and should be handled formally.
“Many of us, because of financial needs, respond to it in that way, and what happens is that we fragment the parcels so badly that, in many instances, there is not enough to go around. I want us to be mindful that when we are buying and selling land, when we’re leaving it in our will, when we’re giving the grandchildren a piece…it’s not done in isolation, as there are consequences,” she said.
The Acting Project Director noted that, oftentimes, property holders give land away to family members and relatives, and then they attempt to sell the land, without fully understanding the laws governing passage from one person to another.
One common challenge, she pointed out, is ascertaining ownership origin, and explained that persons have sought assistance from LAMP in securing land titles, only to be stalled by their inability to advise how they came to have the property in their possession.
Noting that for some persons, change is difficult, Ms. Campbell stressed that efforts at nation building and achieving the goals of Jamaica’s National Development Plan – Vision 2030 – require adjustments in the mindset in relation to how land is handled, starting at the community level.
“Whenever you’re giving away a piece of land, when you’re buying a piece, or you’re selling a piece, it needs to be in writing,” she said.
“It doesn’t have to be fancy, you don’t need a lawyer, you don’t need a Justice of the Peace to draft it, to simply state: ‘I Lisa Campbell, give to John Brown, one square of land in Sligoville’. Then you state the date, and you sign it in the presence of a Justice of the Peace,” Ms. Campbell advised.
She assured that LAMP is ready and willing to provide assistance, where needed, adding that the agency’s staff deem their work, not only a job, but a vocation and a calling.
“We see your need and we want to respond to that need; we are only asking you to join us in the effort to ensure that when you come to us, we can assist you in the least possible time, to the best of our ability,” Ms. Campbell said.
The agency presented just over 50 residents with certificates of title for their properties.
The Land Administration and Management Programme is an agency in the Office of the Prime Minister, which was created in 2000 to address the problem of the large number of unregistered lots islandwide. The agency also assists persons in acquiring titles for their properties.
By DOUGLAS McINTOSH, JIS Reporter