Address by Prime Minister Andrew Holness
Land Titling Ceremony
Land Administration and Management Programme (LAMP)
August 23, 2016, Lawns of Jamaica House
Welcome to your house, your piece of land, Jamaica House.
I’m very pleased to be attending this titling ceremony which is the first since this administration assumed office earlier this year and I look forward to attending many more.
Now I’m not just speaking today as Prime Minister, but I’ll have you know that I’m also the minister in charge of land.
The ceremony also has special significance coming right on the heels of our independence celebrations but more importantly our victory in Rio. Of course none of us were on the track but we claim it as our victory. It gives you a sense of empowerment doesn’t it, when you see how well a Jamaican son and daughter – sons and daughters perform – real sense of empowerment. And that empowerment comes through ownership because we own them. They are ours and it is that same kind of empowerment that we want to give to each and every Jamaican when you can say I own a piece of Jamaica.
So we are seeking to empower all Jamaicans with a renewed sense of ownership and pride in Jamaica by ensuring that each person has a title for their land. We want every Jamaican to have a vested interest in building Jamaica land we love whether residing here or in the diaspora.
In order to build a strong economy and improve the quality of life for our citizens we must give our people security of ownership wherever possible. As such I want to commend the principals at LAMP including the chairman of the board Mr. Trevor Dillion as well as the Development Bank of Jamaica who has nothing to do with land title and land issues but importantly whenever you talk about land you talk about money so land is money waiting to happen, put it that way.
So if you have land, it is only a few more steps to be able to have some money right? And what the DBJ has done is to give a grant to assist you in getting the title for your land so that you can use it to make some money right? So the grant that DBJ has given has made it easier for the process of land titling. I want to commend the DBJ for taking that initiative.
Now I especially want to commend the over two hundred beneficiaries who will receive their titles today because you took the necessary steps to secure your financial independence.
I listened very keenly to the young lady who gave that very entertaining presentation encouraging… what’s the name of the lady she called, Ms. Liza or Ms. Mattie? Encouraging her fellow Jamaicans who have land but no title to engage the process of getting your title and I want to endorse that and encourage others who have not yet sought to get their titles and again to commend you who are receiving your titles today.
Under LAMP, the aim is to deliver one thousand two hundred titles in the 2016- 2017 financial year. I am pleased that at the present rate of uptake of the grant from the DBJ that we will reach this and probably surpass that number.
Since the commencement of the MOU with DBJ and LAMP over six hundred titles have been delivered so far with an additional one thousand to come. The grant assists beneficiaries with not just titles but also incidental costs including defraying the cost of surveying their land.
Now a title is an extremely important document. It means you own a piece of this island that no one can take away from you. Too many Jamaicans do not own land and many studies have shown that equity in land ownership has a direct impact on the overall prosperity of a nation. Your title is an asset that can be used to secure your future and that of your children. In fact it changes the whole profile of a family and provides a foundation on which to build dreams and goals of a better, more prosperous life. Your title can be used as we said before as collateral for a loan. It can be used in helping you start a business, build a house, build a bigger house and many of you will be probably using your land title to secure education for your children.
So having a title fosters dignity and self-esteem in the land owner and if that is the case then the more land owners we have the more dignified our communities will be with people who hold themselves and their neighbors in high esteem and that would take care of a lot of the other social problems that we have.
LAMP recognizes that there are many issues with informal subdivisions and the cultural practices of how we pass on land and what LAMP is trying to do is facilitate and assist you in coming to the realm of ownership. Recognizing the need, we’ve found ways to assist in some of the challenges and the adjudication committees is one way which I think is working fairly well.
There are adjudication committees in several parishes. There are currently eleven active adjudication committees in the parishes of St. Catherine, St. Elizabeth, Clarendon and Manchester and so far just over two hundred persons have been assisted by these committees. Additional adjudication committees are to be established in St. Mary, Portland and St. Thomas.
In order to strengthen the work of the adjudication committees a draft bill amending the Registration of Titles, Cadastral Mapping and Tenure Clarification Act is being finalized. The amended bill is aimed at making the law more culturally relevant so that recognition may be given to the manner in which many land owners give, buy and sell land. In addition LAMP will continue its mandate to conduct cadastral mapping, tenure clarification and regularization in project areas and subsequently reduce the number of unregistered parcels of land thereby bringing them into the formal sector.
This government is committed to building on the initiatives undertaken over the years to ensure that more Jamaicans have the ability to own land and possess documentary proof of that ownership in the form of titles.
It is said that the only real estate is real-estate. Your title represents your hard work, sweat and sacrifice. They are priceless assets that will enrich you and your children for generations to come. Treasure them and use the property that you now have title for productively to add value to your wellbeing.
Ladies and gentlemen you have taken the necessary steps and I urge you to encourage others to do so as well. Land owners who are here and do not yet have titles you are being urged to visit the LAMP office and to encourage other persons who you know to do so as well. Our LAMP officers are standing by ready and willing and eager to assist you to get your titles for your property.
I again applaud all who have made this ceremony possible. Let us continue to work towards the vision of a prosperous, peaceful, loving and economically independent Jamaica. God bless you.