Prime Minister Andrew Holness says the Government expects to build 70,000 inexpensive housing solutions in the next five years to tackle the issue of illegal settlements.
The Prime Minister noted that the Government is working to bring the cost per housing unit to eight million dollars or less to accommodate low-income earners.
Speaking today (January 15, 2021) at the ceremony to hand over titles, through the Ministry of Housing and Urban Renewal, Environment and Climate Change, Prime Minister Holness underscored the Government’s commitment to rapidly increasing the availability of inexpensive housing solutions to promote planned housing schemes and decrease illegal settlement.
“The strategy behind it is to accelerate the pace of housing development so that if someone reaches the point where they need to have a house, there is the formal housing market where we have the houses and mortgages available. This will enable you to buy a house in a structured community with sewage, proper roads, water, electricity, and internet already in place. You can pay your mortgage for that over time instead of going to capture somebody’s land, building on it, and then afterward, you are in a legal battle to get the land,” said Prime Minister Holness.
In that regard, the Prime Minister stated that under the new land titling programme through the Ministry of Housing and Urban Renewal, Environment and Climate Change, the Government will formalize a minimum of 20,000 land titles each year to decrease the number of unregistered lands.
The Prime Minister stated that with this in place, the Government will not tolerate, squatting and illegal settlement.
“At some point in time as a country, we must draw the line in the sand and say we are no longer going to allow land settlements and habitats to emerge in an unplanned and unstructured way, it does not serve us. The Government is not going to countenance, sanction, or have any sympathy on squatting on illegal settlements. Instead, we are going to increase the availability of housing solutions and lots so that people can have access to proper habitat legally and fairly,” said Prime Minister Holness.
He encouraged persons who have settled on informal lands to contact the Ministry of Housing and the National Land Agency to regularize their property.
“We have to take a different perspective on ownership now. As citizens, you must ensure that the Governments you elect understands the issue of social justice and puts in place the laws, the systems and the practices that will allow every Jamaican equal opportunity to own assets, whether it is land, house, car, business; that is what you want, equal opportunities,” said Prime Minister Holness.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Holness asserted that his Administration is committed to ensuring that every Jamaican legally owns a property.