Minister of Housing, Urban Renewal, Environment and Climate Change, Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr., on Thursday (February 25), handed out land titles to 67 residents from six communities across St. James.
The residents were presented with their registered land titles, under the Housing Agency of Jamaica (HAJ) National Land Titling Programme, at a ceremony held at the Social Development Commission (SDC) Region 3 office, Albion Road, in the parish.
In his address, the Minister said the Government remains resolute in its efforts to empower Jamaicans through land ownership, which he says, enhances the prospects for community development and economic growth.
He noted that the thrust is geared at giving property owners collateral for obtaining loans and other economic outcomes.
“It provides you with not just the record but the authority to do what you want. It allows you to participate in the formal economy, [as] you can use your title now to go to the bank and use it as a security to get a loan; you can leverage it for collateral for mortgages, you can use it to go to the utility companies and prove that you are the owner… and it is for you to build your dreams and further develop your homes now, so that personal development moves into community development,” he told the beneficiaries.
“It is important that we build up communities… that can protect and participate with each other. Communities that are the social fabric of our country and by your legal ownership of your property and coming together as one, that personal development will lead to community development,” Mr. Charles Jr. said.
He pointed out that real estate assets can be transferred from generation to generation and act as “an instrument that allows you to prevent other persons from encroaching on your land”.
The Minister informed that the HAJ has now issued more than 9,000 land titles under the National Land Titling Programme, and has over 7,000 titles to be issued to residents across the island.
Meanwhile, beneficiary Latesha Kirton of Retirement, Phase 2, who expressed thanks on behalf of the title recipients, said that having a land title in hand “is a life-changing day,” noting that the Government, through the HAJ, has made “our dream a reality”.
The beneficiaries in Norwood, Retirement, Phases one and two, Lilliput and Meadowvale also received a plant as part of the Ministry’s tree-planting movement.