Flanker residents receive titles
Barrington Flemming, Gleaner Writer
Forty five families in Flanker, St James, were last Friday made landowners by the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing when they were presented with certificates of title for the land, which some have occupied for more than 50 years.
Dr Morais Guy, minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing, who handed out the titles at the Flanker Multi-purpose Building, encouraged the recipients to use their titles wisely to assist in improving their lives. The titling process was facilitated by the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) at a cost J$14 million.
"You can take it to the credit union or other agencies and do your transactions because you now have asset to work with," said Dr Guy.
Eighty-four-year-old Ruby Barrett, who has lived in Flanker since 1956, said she will finally be able to lay legal claim to the parcel of land on which she has built her house and raised her five children.
"I feel like I am flying ... . I am up in the air looking down on the world ... Wow! The wait has been so long, but I thank God. I have the title now, yes! I love it here and I have good view," exclaimed Barrett.
Barrett told Western Focus that when she first came to Flanker, the area was not yet cleared for any development.
"It was all bush, woodland. So we had to get to work to cut down trees and get it ready,"said Barrett.
"I feel good. The time has come," said Shirley Anderson, another resident. "I have been here from in the, '60s. We give God thanks."
Sign Of Empowerment
Esmina Edwards, who has occupied her parcel of land since 1961, was also elated.
"Nobody can call us squatters again. Not anymore," she said.
For retiree Cecilyn Sinclair, receiving the title is a good thing because it gives her and her children hope.
"I am happy my children will be able to use this more than me, but it feels so wonderful to hold this document in my hand," she said.
Councillor of the Flanker Division Charles Sinclair said the fact that the residents have received titles, not only signifies ownership but it means empowerment.
"Persons may now move forward with greater certainty to social and economic improvement," said Sinclair.
Montego Bay's mayor Councillor Glendon Harris said the presentation of certificates of title was an embodiment of the fact that the Government was concerned and was acting to bring about the improvement of all communities.
Member of Parliament Dr Horace Chang said securing the titles for the residents had been a continuous struggle.
"It was initiated in my time as minister but the Government changed ... . I must thank and commend Dr Guy for having continued and completed the programme to empower these people, as this process has moved ahead quite seamlessly, " said Chang.