Hundreds of residents of Clifton in South St. Catherine are to benefit from free skills training and titles for the lands they occupy, as part of Government’s programme to transform the former sugar-dependent area.
Speaking at a community meeting in the area on Wednesday (July 15), Minister of State in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Floyd Green, informed that the skills training will be carried out by the HEART Trust/ National Training and Service Agency (NTSA).
He said that the National Security Ministry is sponsoring the training as part of a community intervention programme.
Mr. Green implored the residents to take advantage of the training programme, which, he said, will better enable them to benefit from employment under the Greater Bernard Lodge Development, which is scheduled to begin shortly.
“I don’t want you to stay home and seh yuh nuh have nuh money. We are going to train you in areas that you can put to use. There is a massive development coming next door and they are going to need contractors, masons, plumbers, and we don’t want them to go far afield to get those people,” he said.
Meanwhile, the land titles are being provided under the Community Regularization and Development Programme operated by the Sugar Company of Jamaica (SCJ) Holdings.
Managing Director of SCJ Holdings, Joseph Shoucair, reported that the titling surveys for the community have been completed, with 331 tiles already approved.
He said that the remainder will be submitted for approval within a week. “By November, each resident will have access to their title,” he said.
Member of Parliament for South St. Catherine, Fitz Jackson, lauded the SCJ for rehabilitating and expanding the community playfield and assured that “we will continue to make Clifton a model community. We have a bit more journey to cover, and we are going to do it together successfully,” he said.
Under the Community Regularisation and Development Programme, families of former sugar workers, who are settling on sugar estate lands owned by SCJ Holdings, have the opportunity to become legitimate property owners.
The project will allow the residents living in estate houses or on lands to take up the responsibility of home/land ownership and community development.