Registered titles for five properties in St. Mary, owned by the St. Mary Parish Council, were handed over to the Secretary/Manager for the Council by Minister of Water and Housing, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, in Port Maria, on February 24.
The properties are the Claude Stewart Park, the Port Maria Market, the Port Maria Civic Centre, and the Old Port Maria Fire Brigade Station (two titles).
The Council has been operating for many years as the unofficial owner of these properties because of its non possession of registered titles. The titles were procured as a result of special efforts by the Ministry of Water and Housing, to formalise the council’s status as owner of the properties.
Addressing the ceremony, Dr. Chang described the occasion as a significant one, as the possession of the titles provided the council with the empowerment associated with their ownership.
He said the presentation was a symbol of government’s intention to make parish councils responsible for their affairs, as the implementation of the Local Government Reform process gathers momentum.
The Minister said that parish councils are often the owners of significant land holdings, which are sometimes left alone and squatted on, emphasising that those assets can be used to provide effective and well needed service for the people at the local government level.
Dr. Chang said the Ministry is making a special effort to equip St. Mary with the basic infrastructure to enable the people of the parish to develop their lives, and that significant investment in water and housing is earmarked for the communities of Mason Hall, Agualta Vale and Boscobel.
In his address, Minister of State for Local Government and Member of Parliament for Western St. Mary, Hon. Robert Montague, thanked the Minister for the urgency with which the titles were secured, and urged council to view their possession as an invaluable source of empowerment.
Pointing out that the people of St. Mary, in their efforts to procure registered titles, were being assisted by the Land Administration and Management Programme (LAMP), which recently began operation in the parish.
Mr. Montague encouraged the residents to make full use of the opportunities available under the programme, adding that one of the objectives of that project is the production of a cadastral map of Jamaica, to correctly determine the amount of land holdings in the country.
Also speaking was Mayor of Port Maria, Councillor Richard Creary, who also thanked Dr. Chang for presenting the titles, and assured that the titles will be used to promote the best interest of the people of St. Mary.
CONTACT: ASTON G. BAILEY
JIS REGIONAL OFFICE