The VM Foundation has partnered with the National Land Agency (NLA) to officially launch a $30-million land titling grant funding initiative to assist 400 Jamaicans in the process of surveying their parcels of land to obtain registered land titles. This partnership will run for three years and covers parcels of land in St Andrew, St Mary, Portland and St Thomas.
“Low registration of land has been a longstanding and complex problem in Jamaica for generations. The VM Foundation, which is passionate about helping to transform lives, is pleased to partner with the NLA to move the needle forward with this initiative,” said Samantha Charles, chief executive officer of the VM Foundation.
“Land ownership is empowering on many levels, and we are keen to see the positive socio-economic impact this project will have on citizens in the long term.”
WORKING COLLABORATIVELY TO MAKE WIDER COMMUNITY FLOURISH
Courtney Campbell, president and CEO of the VM Group, echoed Charles’ sentiment, noting that sponsoring the surveyor costs in the land titling process is aligned with VM’s commitment to mutuality “because this is about working collaboratively to make the wider community flourish”.
Campbell was speaking at the official signing ceremony held at the Office of the Prime Minister on February 24.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness, in his remarks, commended the VM Group and VM Foundation on being good corporate citizens, noting that in stepping up to the plate, the organisation is helping to advance Jamaica’s land registration efforts.
He said there are many persons who have claims to land ownership but have not been able to unlock the wealth within that ownership.
“You could take that piece of land to another step to make it a market asset where you can realise value, such as to get a mortgage or purchase other assets or pursue educational opportunities. You will change your financial status when you get that piece of land you have rights to, registered.”
This grant will help the NLA to accelerate the pace of Land Tenure Regularisation and Clarification. Tenure Regularisation is designed to assist people with registration of a property that has never had a title. Clarification results in parcels of land being updated to reflect existing property rights. Eligible applicants with a single parcel of land, not exceeding five acres, can each request a maximum of $75,000 as a grant to offset their surveying fee.
Cheriese Walcott, CEO of the NLA, shared: “The NLA thanks the VM Foundation for taking a step in fulfilling our citizens’ funding needs and their desire to secure their land ownership rights. The Agency anticipates a significant grant uptake by eligible applicants and looks forward to its positive impact on land registration across Jamaica. Land is at the heart of development. Secure land tenure is thus vital to building the inclusive, resilient, and sustainable communities that will propel economic and social progress well into the future.”
The NLA will manage the grant funding as well as identify and select qualified applicants using a documented policy, which outlines all conditions and requirements to be satisfied to access voluntary land titling.