JIS News

Eighty-seven of 101 residents of informal communities in St. Catherine, who are beneficiaries under the government’s Land Settlement Programme, were yesterday (May 24) presented with certificates of titles.
The beneficiaries are from Lluidasvale, Deeside, Harkers Hall, Cocoa Walk, Sunnyside, Crawle and Mount Dawson land settlements.
Minister of Agriculture and Lands, Roger Clarke, in his remarks at the presentation ceremony held at the Pleasant Farm Club, told the beneficiaries that with their titles, they could now engage in profitable agricultural ventures.
He pointed to a $2.5 billion loan fund, with interest rate of less than 10 per cent, which has been established to assist farmers. “RADA (Rural Agricultural Development Authority) and the Ministry have the technical expertise to help you,” he said.
In the meantime, Mr. Clarke said that the Ministry, under the Land Administration and Management Programme (LAMP), will be issuing land settlement titles to recipients in every parish over the next two months.”We will be coming back to St. Catherine to deliver over 400 titles to beneficiaries and the LAMP team has been working tirelessly to meet these targets,” he informed.
Commissioner of Lands and Chief Executive Officer of the National Land Agency, Elizabeth Stair, told JIS News that 101 titles were prepared for distribution but only 87 persons turned up to receive their titles. She said that many of the beneficiaries received titles for agricultural lots.
“We are very happy to be able to bring those titles to them because we know that for them, it is a very important day. It means that they now have legal ownership of their property. It means that it is something they can take to the bank and something they can pass on to their children,” she said.
Curdell Smith from the Deeside District, who spoke on behalf of the beneficiaries, thanked the Agriculture Ministry for “making our dreams a reality.”
“It has been a long while that we, the citizens of this small community, have been waiting for this moment of achievement and to know that we have inherited something that we have long been waiting for,” she said.
She pointed out that with the land titles, Deeside residents will no longer be referred to as squatters. “It has finally come to an end. We can proudly say that we are citizens of Deeside,” she added.
Also present at the ceremony were State Minister for Agriculture and Lands, Victor Cummings; Permanent Secretary, Donovan Stanberry; and Minister of Housing, Transport, Water and Works and Member of Parliament for St. Catherine North West, Robert Pickersgill.

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