Use it or lose it

Govern­ment to re­struc­ture land di­vest­ment pol­icy

Jamaica Gleaner - - NEWS - Brian Walker/Staff Reporter

“IF YOU don’t use it, you’re go­ing to lose it,” was the warn­ing from Daryl Vaz, min­is­ter with­out port­fo­lio with re­spon­si­bil­ity for land, to those who lease govern­ment lands. In his sec­toral pre­sen­ta­tion in Par­lia­ment on Tues­day,

Vaz an­nounced that the Govern­ment was mov­ing to over­haul its land di­vest­ment pol­icy to pro­mote util­ity and foster eco­nomic growth.

“Mr Speaker, the rea­son that we have so much idle land in Ja­maica is be­cause a vast amount of Govern­ment land has been ei­ther leased and is not be­ing utilised or has been sold with no per­for­mance clauses for de­vel­op­ment in a timely man­ner,” said Vaz.

He ex­plained that steps were be­ing taken to re­cover idle lands but cited court de­lays as a bar­rier. Vaz charged that “it is dragged out in the court sys­tem for years and years, while peo­ple who want to use land, can’t get land to use. Mr Speaker, that must be the first thing that I’ve ever said that has full ac­cep­tance on both sides”.

He noted that the prime min­is­ter had listed the mat­ter as a top pri­or­ity.

Vaz added: “We are go­ing to re­trieve what we can re­trieve, and any­thing that is di­vested go­ing for­ward by this Andrew Hol­ness-led ad­min­is­tra­tion will have spe­cific clauses that will al­low the Govern­ment to take it back with­out hav­ing to go to court.”

The min­is­ter dis­closed that an au­dit of all lands un­der the purview of the Na­tional Land Agency had been com­mis­sioned.

VAZ

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