Several residents of the Shaw Park Heights and Mammee Bay communities in St Ann were finally issued with titles to their property after decades of waiting and hoping for the day when they could be counted among the official list of landowners.
"We dreamt it, we believed it, and now we achieved it," Trevor Anderson said moments after he was presented with his title at a special ceremony held at the Ocho Rios Baptist Church Hall, in the parish last Friday.
The smiles on the faces of the residents, 45 from Mammee Bay and 21 from Shaw Park Heights, were an indication of the joy they felt having waited for years to receive the titles to their properties.
"Mi so happy mi nuh know how fi explain. It too good to be true," Leoni Campbell, resident of Shaw Park Heights, told the Jamaica Observer North East.
Campbell said she has waited for 12 years for the day when she would receive her title.
The titles were secured for the residents through a title initiative spearheaded by the Housing Agency of Jamaica.
Over J$400 million was reportedly spent to develop infrastructure in the Shaw Park Heights and Mammee Bay communities.
The Mammee Bay community was developed at an approximate cost of J$315 million and some J$24.9 million was collected through the title initiative. The Shaw Park Heights community was developed at a cost of J$125.2 million and $13.8 million was collected.
The Government, which is in possession of nearly 9,000 titles for landowners dating back to the1960s, has proposed that the titles be handed over to the owners for nominal fees ranging from $25,000 to $300,000.
Dr Morais Guy, minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing, who gave the main address at the handing-over ceremony, encouraged the residents to make good use of their titles.
"Use it and develop your own personal and family resources. Use it as a tool as part of the developmental process in your community," he encouraged.
He further advised the residents against using their titles to borrow money they cannot repay.
Dr Guy also called on the residents to pay their property taxes and to see to the proper upkeep of their homes.