A total of 102 residents in the Westmoreland communities of Whitehouse and Whithorn are now the proud holders of certificates of title following handover ceremonies last Friday, March 27.
The residents, who are occupants of Operation PRIDE schemes, were provided with the titles under the Government’s National Land Titling Programme, being implemented by the Housing Agency of Jamaica (HAJ).
Minister without Portfolio with responsibility for Housing in the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing, Hon. Dr. Morais Guy, presented the documents to 65 residents of Whitehouse and 37 in Galloway, Whithorn.
In his remarks at the ceremony held in Whitehouse, Minister Guy said the handover of titles is in keeping with the Government’s commitment to enable citizens to “own a piece of Jamaica.”
He said ownership of a land title will also empower ordinary Jamaicans to participate in the country’s economic development.
“Government wants you to be part of the partnership that we seek (between) Government and people to build Jamaica. People always look at the big man and say Government (is) looking at the big man to grow the economy, the big businesses, the investment by the foreigners and the private sector in Jamaica. But I want to say to you, in your own individual rights, you are the private sector at this level,” he pointed out.
He implored the recipients to encourage the other 475 residents of the Whitehouse property to make the required deposit in order to receive their titles.
“My message to you also is to go out there and encourage the others to say ‘let us buy the piece of land; let us pay the little that the Government is asking us to pay’. Go tell them…that the Minister says, ‘he is not going to hold on to the price of $100,000 for a beautiful view …forever’,” Dr. Guy said.
To the 37 recipients of Galloway, Dr. Guy urged them to use their certificates of title for productive purposes.
“Let us become responsible and work in partnership with the Government to build the community. When you build the community, you build the parish and when you build the parish, you build the country. When you build the country you build the nation, this island Jamaica,” he noted.
For their part, Members of Parliament for Eastern and Central Westmoreland, Luther Buchanan and Dwayne Vaz, respectively, congratulated the new title holders and encouraged them to make good use of the opportunity to improve their economic situation.
The Ministry is aiming to hand over at least 15,000 certificates of title per year over the next three years, to complete the award of 45,000 titles to beneficiaries under the Land Titling Programme.