Friday 24 May, 2019

Amendments to Registration of Titles Act to be finalised this year

Shalise Porteous, senior director in the newly established Adjudication Services Division of the National Land Agency (NLA), said amendments to the Registration of Titles Act are now before the Chief Parliamentary Counsel of Parliament.

Shalise Porteous, senior director in the newly established Adjudication Services Division of the National Land Agency (NLA), said amendments to the Registration of Titles Act are now before the Chief Parliamentary Counsel of Parliament.

The government is moving ahead with the proposed amendments to two key pieces of legislation relating to the land titling process, to accelerate its plans to register and provide titles for 20,000 parcels of land, within the next three years.

Shalise Porteous, senior director in the newly established Adjudication Services Division of the National Land Agency (NLA), said amendments to the Registration of Titles Act are now before the Chief Parliamentary Counsel of Parliament.

“We have made our recommendations [and] they have prepared a draft bill for our review, therefore, we’re hoping that surely, within this year, the legislative framework will be in place to facilitate the mass registration of land parcels in Jamaica,” she said.

She said to make this possible the Special Provisions Act will also come under review.

Porteous made the disclosure, while addressing the ‘Know Your Property Rights’ symposium, mounted by the Realtors Association of Jamaica (RAJ) in Mandeville. The event, sponsored by JN Bank, provided residents along the south coast with pertinent information about the land titling process. 

She said while her division is up and running, the systematic titling of unregistered parcels of land across the country has not yet started.

“We have not started, because the legislative framework is not yet in place,” she advised.

The Adjudication Division was established following the merger of the NLA and the Land Administration and Management Programme (LAMP). The new division was created to systematically address the titling of all parcels of land across Jamaica.

Data shows that some 40 per cent, or 350,000 parcels of land, in Jamaica are unregistered. Currently, the parishes with the highest rates of unregistered land are Portland and St Elizabeth.

Porteous said once the legislative framework is in place, communities across these parishes, would be among the first areas to be targeted under the programme.

“The communities for review will then be declared a project area, for systematic registration. The next step will be a nationwide public education campaign, which will include seminars and Town Hall meetings,” she explained. 

Porteous further informed that an adjudication record will be created, which will comprise a register of all persons claiming an estate, or interest in a parcel of land.

“This [registry] will be displayed in the community and it will also be published in local and international media for an initial 30 days,” she said.

She noted that the adjudication process and surveying will go hand in hand and that the surveys will be carried out under a public-private partnership with Geoland Title Limited.

“Our teams will visit each household, parcel by parcel, and conduct our own interviews and investigations. Our goal is to gather information from land owners, community members and neighbours to confirm [ownership of the land],” she said.

Porteous pointed out that this represents a key change, as persons in rural parishes will no longer be required to travel to Kingston to have their land registration matters dealt with.

“We’ll actually be on ground, in the field, doing our investigations and confirming that, in fact, these persons are owners of the land,” she informed. “Therefore, the landowners won’t have to come to us, we will go to them.”

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