Current Affairs

Current Affairs




Land title costs being cut, says Dalley
BYRON BUCKLEY, Senior political reporter
Friday, September 20, 2002



DALLEY...the Government has taken the decision to make the titling process affordable

GOVERNMENT plans, during the next six to 10 years, to provide all persons who have claims to a property with titles at a fraction of the normal costs, Horace Dalley, the land and environment minister, announced in Parliament on Tuesday.

Under a special programme, which commenced this year, the National Land Agency (NLA) will examine and survey, where necessary, 30,000 parcels of land. Tenure for these parcels will be clarified and titles issued to persons who do not have titles for their lands. In the end, a digital Cadastral map of the area will be produced.

According to Dalley, beneficiaries of this mapping and titling project will be assisted with probating wills, obtaining letters of administration and other legal services for a small fee.

"The Government has taken the decision to make the titling process affordable by waiving stamp duties and transfer tax and reducing all other fees... to encourage persons to obtain their titles under this project," Dalley told legislators during the sectoral debate.

As their contribution towards reducing the cost of processing titles under this project, Dalley says newspapers have agreed to reduce advertising charges.

He said that the entire project, covering the island, will be implemented through joint ventures with the private sector.

The land titling project will be facilitated by the enactment of new legislation: Cadastral Mapping and Tenure Regularisation Special Provisions Act. A draft of the Act is now being reviewed.

In addition to the special thrust to make land title universal, the NLA last year issued 18,288 new titles in duplicate, surpassing the projected target of 12,000 on an improved turnaround time. In the process, the land titles division of the land and environment ministry earned revenue of $157 million, 14 per cent above budget.

Dalley disclosed that an (electronic)-governance programme would be launched in November 2002, which is expected to provide the public with access to most of the agency's services via its web site.

Already, the minister has reported the introduction of an electronic search area at the downtown Kingston office of the National Land Agency, which has afforded greater convenience for customers.

In touching on the varied areas under his portfolio, Dalley disclosed that his ministry had embarked on a national squatter survey with the assistance of the University of Technology in order to assist in developing policy solutions to the proliferation of unplanned/informal settlement.

Dalley reported that government had purchased a Global Positioning System (GPS) network of eight stations, which would be installed across Jamaica by next March and used primarily for land surveying purposes.

However, GPS technology improves other location-based information services such as air, marine and vehicle navigation; telecommunications network planning; emergency response; fleet management and monitoring illegal activities.