Prime Minister Bruce Golding today Sept. 15 launched the Land Access for National Development (LAND) project designed to give owners of untitled lands an opportunity to regularize their properties noting that untitled lands have deprived Jamaica’s potential for development.
Prime Minister Golding launched the historic project at the Juan de Bolas Primary School in St. Catherine. He said Jamaica has on register, some eight hundred thousand (800, 000) parcels of lands, however, less than half have registered titles.
“So much more could have been done if we had been able to transform, to convert these assets that could be used both for the personal benefits of the families involved and for the development of the country as a whole.”
He urged Jamaicans to utilize the programme because if it is well implemented and attracts a significant level of interest, it can be submitted for multi-lateral funding which will make the project available to more Jamaicans.
“This project is another effort to correct what is a travesty of history. The issue of land ownership in Jamaica is something that punctuates our history as a people, over which fights have been waged, laws have been framed and yet we still have not gotten it right” Mr Golding said.
He said a measure needs to be found to address the issue of owning a piece of land whether by history or culture and moving it to a tradable asset and capital.
The Prime Minister said the LAND project brings a new ray of hope for families who do not have to be imprisoned in their own poverty as they can be made rich without receiving Government resources. He said if the wealth that they possess in the form of lands is unleashed then it can transform their lives.
The LAND project is a partnership between the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, the Ministry of Water and Housing and Environment, the Parish Councils and the People’s Cooperative Bank. The pilot phase of the project will be commenced in five parishes, St. Catherine, St. Mary, St. Elizabeth, Clarendon and Manchester.
The project was launched in the community of Juan de Bolas which is the name of the first Jamaican to receive a land grant but no documents. Today, Prime Minister Golding signed the first certificate of compliance under the LAND project for Juan de Bolas which was given to his relatives.
-Communications Unit, OPM