After more than three decades since the establishment of the Ebony Park Housing Scheme in Clarendon, some seventy (70) residents have received Certificates of Title for the lands they were allotted. The handing over ceremony, which was held in the community recently, saw scores of jubilant and elated residents proudly displaying their titles, after years of not being able to show ownership for the property on which they live. Speaking at the ceremony, Prime Minister, the Hon. Portia Simpson-Miller, emphasized the significance of the moment and said that the initiative represented a march to community development and progress which can enable the residents to be more productive by transforming the community one life at a time.

“I am extremely proud today to be presenting the residents of Ebony Park their Certificates of Title because at this very moment a new sense of citizenship is engendered as persons are now able to claim their very own ‘piece of the rock.”

The scheme was established in the late 1970s as an initiative to provide housing solutions and agriculture lands for young farmers. This was realised with funding from the Organisation of American States and technical assistance from the Government of Israel. Minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing, the Hon. Dr. Morais Guy, said that the Ebony Park initiative is critical in renewing social and economic activities in the rural areas as the titles can now be used as collateral for business and other advancements.

“This is indeed a life-changing document and we are working harder to put more power in the hands of the people. Home ownership is one of the cornerstones of community and family development and we will continue to work assiduously to advance the welfare of the Jamaican people.”

The Ebony Park Housing Project was started under the Project Oasis initiative in 1979, which intended to construct 200 houses on 200 acres of land, subdivided into residential and farmlands in an effort to boost agricultural production for subsistence and export. The obviously pleased recipients expressed delight in finally receiving their Titles after having settled outstanding obligations with the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing. A further 40 Certificates will be issued to residents who are yet to sign their documents, thereby bringing the number of recipients to 110.