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West poised for construction boom

Published:Friday | February 6, 2015 | 12:00 AM

Mark Titus, Gleaner Writer

Western Bureau:

The critical need for additional housing stock in western Jamaica is poised to be addressed shortly as Government has announced an ambitious plan to construct some 1,429 homes in the region in the next financial year.

The project, which is being undertaken by the Housing Agency of Jamaica (HAJ) at a cost of approximately $8 billion, will commence in April, and will be complemented by an additional 1,046 service lots to be built by the National Housing Trust (NHT) over the period 2015 to 2019.

The announcement was made by Dr Morais Guy, minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing, during yesterday's Jamaica House press briefing at the Office of The Prime Minister West, in Montego Bay, St James.

"As it relates to the Housing Agency of Jamaica, this agency is ardent to the task of providing 1,500 housing solutions for the new financial year," Guy said. "... (but) the details of this (NHT project) will be elaborated on during the prime minister's budget presentation."

Guy also revealed that his administration is to embark on a programme to issue some 45,000 certificates of title, which are currently located in various ministries and government agencies, to the current occupants of lands over the next three years.

"The ministry has been tasked with the responsibility to coordinate the issuing of 45,000 certificates of title islandwide ... to this end, the ministry has assembled a team to examine and assess the variables in the delivery of certificates of title," said Guy. "The obstacle that impeded the process extended to all stakeholders; as such a definitive decision has been taken to address the hindrances by adjusting policies and pursuing legislative amendments to attain the desired quantity."

The partnership in the project includes the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing, the National Land Agency, National Environment and Planning Agency, Land Administration and Management Programme and the Housing Agency of Jamaica.

Guy also revealed that the Administrator General's Department will soon be empowered to transfer properties of primary estates to beneficiaries.