KINGSTON, Jamaica — Over 120 residents in St Catherine are now land owners after a team, led by Prime Minister Andrew Holness, issued the tittles recently at the Old Harbour New Testament Church of God in Rhoden’s Pen.
The titles were issued under the National Land Agency (NLA) Systematic Land Registration (SLR) programme to residents of Old Harbour, Church Pen, Sharper’s Lane, Thompson Pen, Bushy Park and Old Harbour Bay for properties they have occupied for 12 years or more.
One recipient, 45-year-old Zachariah Oakley, said he has been living on his land since birth and has expressed his gratitude to the government.
“I feel like I’ve won the lottery,” he said. “I have been trying to process it for about nine years…This programme that the Government has set up has made it so easy. Since they started, it’s like only three months and I get through with something that I have been trying to get through for years, so I actually feel like I’ve won the lottery.”
Another resident, 66-year-old Ena Foga of Church Pen, said she had long wanted to begin the process of land ownership and was overcome with joy when she was presented with her land title.
“Me feel good and mi a seh, bwoy, mi thank God mi father did lef something fi mi. Thank God me own a piece a land,” she said. “Me a wonda all the while and a seh how me aguh look about it, until the (National) Land Agency come in now and survey it.”
The move is part of the government’s plan to increase socio-economic security and stability in the country, by giving citizens the opportunity to acquire property.
Holness said: “The Government is not unaware or unsympathetic to the genuine concerns of people trying to find a housing solution for themselves, but it is not a solution to the problem to go and illegally settle; it just exacerbates and compounds the problem.”
NLA's CEO Cheriese Walcott said the agency remains committed to helping Jamaicans secure property rights through the implementation of an efficient land registration system.
She has advised that persons who have applied for titles under the SLR programme are expected to all receive their titles during this year.