Holness tells land title owners to build 'bigger houses'
Prime Minister Andrew Holness is encouraging Jamaicans to put their land titles to use by making investments, including building bigger houses.
"Your title is an asset that can be used to secure your future, and that of your children," he told the almost 200 Jamaicans who gathered on the laws of Jamaica House, St Andrew, to receive their titles under a programme involving the Land Administration and Management Programme and the Development Bank of Jamaica.
"In fact," Holness continued, "it (land title) 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 collateral for a loan, it can be used in helping you to start a business, build a house - build a bigger house."
Holness' bigger house reference, which earned some applause, appeared to have been an attempt to refer to his mansion being built in Beverly Hills that was a major talking point in the recent general election his party won.
Making reference to land ownership disputes, the prime minister announced that draft legislation was being finalised to "strengthen" the resolution of those issues which, in the past, have turned deadly.
But he did not say when the draft bill to amend the Registration of Titles Cadastral Mapping and Tenure Clarification (Special Provisions) Act will be completed or brought to the Parliament.
"The amended bill is aimed at making the law more culturally relevant so that recognition may be given to the manner in which many landowners, give, buy and sell land."
According to him, the bill will strengthen the work of adjudication committees that settle land ownership disputes.
Minnette Spencer, an 85-year-old, who was receiving a title for a parcel of land she owns off
St John's Road in St Catherine, told The Gleaner she was happy to receive the legal document.
"I'm very happy. I've been waiting a good likkle time, but is not extremely long," the Aberdeen, St Elizabeth, native said.
Up to June 2014, there were 344 land-settlement schemes islandwide, with 18,412 persons in 139 of those schemes without titles for the lands they occupy.