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Heads of the Registrar General’s Department (RGD) and the National Land Agency (NLA), have emphasized that the organizations were committed to serving their clients.Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the RGD, Dr. Patricia Holness and CEO of the NLA, Elizabeth Stair spoke of their commitment, when they addressed patrons attending a recent forum, organized by Jamaica National and the Gleaner Company entitled, ‘Outlook for the Future: Doing Business in Jamaica’, held at the King Edward Hotel in Toronto, Canada.
Dr. Holness said that since becoming an Executive Agency in 1999, the RGD was on a path to become one of the “most efficient and effective agencies in the island, satisfying the needs of all customers”.
She told the forum that as of January 2007, the Government would issue the first birth certificate free of cost to every child born and fully registered in Jamaica.
The CEO pointed out that the RGD operated five shifts over 23 hours per day, and the only time there was no one working, was between 5:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. Other than the head office in Twickenham Park, St. Catherine, there are eight regional offices located in St. James, Westmoreland, St. Elizabeth, Manchester, Kingston, Portland,
St. Ann and Portmore. A new regional office in Clarendon is to be opened soon.
Dr. Holness, who was accompanied by Daynielle Clarke, Acting Manager of the Montego Bay Regional Office and Damian Ffriend, Manager of Civil Registration, Marketing and Mobile Outreaches, said the RGD recorded a 98 per cent customer satisfaction rate in 2005/2006.
She said the agency was committed to doing outreaches to its clients and had done 871 between April and September of this year.
While in Canada, the team spent some time at the Jamaican Consulate and interfaced with several clients.Speaking on the work of the NLA, Mrs. Stair told the audience that the agency was a “one-stop shopping” entity.
Created as an Executive Agency in 2001, the NLA is an amalgamation of Land Valuation, Lands Department, Office of Titles and the Survey Department.
The agency deals with land titles, registering of land, property tax, management of Crown lands and mapping for the island.
Mrs. Stair explained that through eLandjamaica, it was easy to access some of the services of the agency, such as searching for registered land titles and creating a copy of one. She also pointed out that as of January 2007, maps could be ordered online. Also addressing the forum was Hugh Thomas from the Immigration, Citizenship and Passport Division, who said that the unit was also a “one-stop shop” to serve the public in a more efficient manner.
He noted that since 2001, 800,000 new passports had been issued, with a turnaround time of seven days for local applications.
Mr. Thomas said that with Cricket World Cup (CWC) 2007, there would be one CARICOM visa, and that immigration officers would be placed in Toronto, New York and Miami to serve clients.
In his address, Mel Smith, JAMPRO’s Regional Manager for North American markets, noted that Jamaica offered good incentives for investors, and that investment returns were higher and better in Jamaica than anywhere else.