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  • Leader of Government Business, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, who piloted the Bills in the Upper House on Friday (May 8), requested the suspension of the debate on the measures just before adjournment of the sitting.
  • Senator Johnson Smith, who is also Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, noted that the Bills are intended to address the matter of insecurity of tenure arising from a large number of persons occupying lands, whose names are not on the titles, in some cases, spanning generations.

Two companion Bills, aimed at revolutionising the country’s land-titling system, are expected to be passed during the next sitting of the Senate.

These are the Registration of Titles Cadastral Mapping and Tenure Clarification (Special Provisions) (Amendment) Act, 2020 (SPA); and the Registration of Titles (Amendment) Act, 2020 (RTA).

Leader of Government Business, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, who piloted the Bills in the Upper House on Friday (May 8), requested the suspension of the debate on the measures just before adjournment of the sitting.

“I will just ask to perhaps, properly close the debate at our next sitting so that I could address the issues raised and then we could go straight to committee and pass these very important Bills,” she said.

Senator Johnson Smith, who is also Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, noted that the Bills are intended to address the matter of insecurity of tenure arising from a large number of persons occupying lands, whose names are not on the titles, in some cases, spanning generations.

“Addressing this issue is one of the keys to breaking the cycle of inter-generational poverty in Jamaica,” she said.

She noted that having a title will enable persons to “collateralise, to monetise land, to use it as security to build personal or family wealth.”

“Plainly put, we want to ensure that people with family land, with ‘dead lef’…can get their names on titles, so they can go to a bank or a credit union to get a loan to build themselves and their families,” she said.

Essentially, the Bills are intended to modernise and enhance the administrative structures and simplify the process of bringing land under the RTA registration system and to reduce the cost of delivering and obtaining titles.

“The outcomes being sought are to increase the security of tenure, increase the number of titles issued, improve the timeliness of the delivery of titles under the RTA, or to transfer titles to persons,” the Senator noted.

The Bills also seek to give effect to the policy position to implement an adjudication-centric and driven process for proving the ownership of land and separate the processes of planning and subdivision approval from that of issuing of titles, under the SPA.

“They will also provide for the full operations of the Land Administration and Management Programme processes, including the adjudication processes, to place them under the responsibility of the Chief Executive Officer of the National Land Agency. Additionally, they will amend the SPA Regulations to give effect to the changes that will be made to the Act regarding adjudication committees,” Senator Johnson Smith noted.

The Bills were approved by the House of Representatives during its sitting on April 28.

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