Re­vise land law, says par­lia­men­tar­ian

Jamaica Gleaner - - INTERNATIONAL NEWS -

In this 2005 file photo, work­men from the Port­more Mu­nic­i­pal Coun­cil re­move a makeshift house in Port Hen­der­son, St Cather­ine. Un­der Ja­maican law, a squat­ter who has been liv­ing undis­turbed on a prop­erty for more than 12 years can ap­ply for a title for the prop­erty.

NORTH EAST St Cather­ine Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment Les­lie Camp­bell has called for a re­vi­sion of the law which en­ti­tles in­di­vid­u­als to take pos­ses­sion of land owned by other per­sons af­ter 12 years of oc­cu­pa­tion.

Un­der the Lim­i­ta­tion of Ac­tions Act, any in­di­vid­ual hav­ing le­gal en­ti­tle­ment to land is pro­hib­ited from re­cov­er­ing pos­ses­sion af­ter 12 years of oc­cu­pa­tion by other per­sons, with­out pre­vi­ous re­cov­ery ef­forts be­ing made.

Camp­bell, who was making his 2016 Con­stituency De­bate pre­sen­ta­tion in the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives re­cently, is of the view that this prin­ci­ple is a dis­ad­van­tage to le­gal land own­ers, par­tic­u­larly where ad­verse pos­ses­sion re­sult­ing from squat­ting oc­curred dur­ing the 12year pe­riod.

“You can move on to a man’s par­cel of land when he has for ex­am­ple gone to visit his rel­a­tives abroad, and he’s pos­si­bly away for 12 years. Through some leg­isla­tive sleight of hand or oth­er­wise, what (do) we say to that man when he has re­turned to his land ... ‘you have lost it’?” the mem­ber of par­lia­ment ques­tioned.

In light of this, Camp­bell sug­gested that a de­ci­sion be taken that “we are go­ing to out­law that pro­vi­sion so that it doesn’t im­pact on our ru­ral peo­ple (in par­tic­u­lar)”.


Mean­while, Camp­bell said plans are in place to de­velop an agro-based eco­nomic pro­gramme in North East St Cather­ine, which has a pop­u­la­tion of ap­prox­i­mately 30,000.

This, he ex­plained, will re­sult in job cre­ation while ul­ti­mately im­prov­ing the con­stituents’ qual­ity of life.

“If we are go­ing to drive eco­nomic growth in our ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties, we must, at best, de­cide whether or not we are go­ing to give these per­sons ac­cess to credit; and the best way to do so, for ru­ral folks, is to give them ti­tles for their lands,” he said.

Camp­bell also urged state agen­cies such as the Na­tional Wa­ter Com­mis­sion to put the nec­es­sary in­fra­struc­ture in place “to sup­port the peo­ple in their quest for a bet­ter life”.

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