Jamaica News: Two companion Bills, aimed at revolutionising the country’s land-titling system and allowing eligible persons occupying family lands to receive titles, have been approved by the Senate.
During Friday’s (May 15) sitting, the Bills: the Registration of Titles Cadastral Mapping and Tenure Clarification (Special Provisions) (Amendment) Act, 2020 (SPA), was passed with 12 amendments; and the Registration of Titles (Amendment) Act, 2020 (RTA), with four changes.
The Bills are intended to address the matter of insecurity of tenure arising from a large number of persons occupying lands, whose names are not on the titles, in some cases, spanning generations.
Leader of Government Business, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, in closing the debate on the Bills in the Upper House, pointed out that importantly, they make provision for systemic registration which will allow communities to give evidence about the occupation and possession of land.
“(In doing so), the huge hurdle of having documentation to support a claim in title is going to be removed and the community will have a voice, and that will close a large gap that has existed in generational deficiencies in asserting the rights to family land,” she said.
Senator Johnson Smith, who is also Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, noted that this will work in tandem with the amendment to the Limitation of Actions Act, as set out in Clause 14 of the RTA Amendment Bill “which is again taking us out of the realm of always having a document in writing. So again, making the issue one which is relevant and contextually (and) historically appropriate for Jamaica.”
“This will be supported by the Adjudication Committee, again helping to give voice and cogency to claims for interest in lands that were traditionally undermined by the Statute of Frauds and the Limitation (Act),” she pointed out.
The Bills are intended to modernise and enhance the administrative structures and simplify the process of bringing land under the RTA registration system and to reduce the cost of delivering and obtaining titles.
The outcomes being sought are to increase the security of tenure, increase the number of titles issued, improve the timeliness of the delivery of titles under the RTA, or to transfer titles to persons.
The Bills also seek to give effect to the policy position to implement an adjudication-centric and driven process for proving the ownership of land and separate the processes of planning and subdivision approval from that of issuing of titles, under the SPA.
They will also provide for the full operations of the Land Administration and Management Programme processes, including the adjudication processes, to place them under the responsibility of the Chief Executive Officer of the National Land Agency (NLA).
Additionally, they will amend the SPA Regulations to give effect to the changes that will be made to the Act regarding adjudication committees.
Source: JIS News