Date: 2 March 2017
Source: Jamaica Observer
PRIME Minister Andrew Holness says informal settlements or squatting cannot be used as a means for securing land tenure in Jamaica.
He added that it is the orderly settlement of land which is led by the Government that will ensure Jamaicans own land.
“Every single Jamaican, no matter what their status in life is, can afford to occupy and own land through the rightful and lawful means and the National Housing Trust (NHT) has a critical role to play in this,” he said.
The prime minister was delivering remarks at the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of 37 residential lots in the Marys Field Housing Development by the NHT, in Kitson Town, St Catherine, on Tuesday..
Holness indicated that it was his duty to bring order to the way in which the society is developing and in that regard indicated that this requires the NHT to “build out the lands that it owns in order to attract some of the people in the informal settlements”.
He said that existing within those settlements are people who have jobs and want to leave that situation and must, therefore, be given the opportunity to do so.
Meanwhile, the prime minister said the NHT will be constructing approximately ‘4,000 housing starts’ before the end of the year.
A housing start is defined as beginning the foundation of the house itself. It may also be seen as an economic indicator that reflects the number of privately owned new houses on which construction has started in a given period.
A total of 1,062 housing solutions (houses and serviced lots) will be delivered in St Catherine between 2017 and 2018. So far, 253 are being developed by the NHT at Eltham Farm and Hellshire in Portmore.
Holness said the NHT has been directed to improve its systems and processes in order to “move apace with housing construction to keep up with the demand for housing (in Jamaica)”.
Member of Parliament for St Catherine West Central and Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton welcomed the Marys Field Housing Development, saying it is “positive news” for the residents.
“This is a demonstration that the prime minister, who has responsibility for housing is carrying out his mandate and commitment because he is….delivering housing solutions to the people of Jamaica and certainly to this constituency,” he said.
Chairman of the NHT, Ambassador Dr Nigel Clarke, meanwhile, said the Government values the importance of ownership as it is part of the engine of growth.
Dr Clarke indicated that since the new arrangement introduced by the Government last year which broadened access to financing for the purchase of housing, over 3,000 new customers have benefited.
The Marys Field Housing Development is situated on 11.3 acres of land. Construction for infrastructure works is planned for completion this year.
Lot owners will be responsible for constructing their own rainwater harvesting system and on-lot sewage disposal system.
Photo credit: JIS