The handing-over ceremony which was organised by the Ministry of Transport, Works & Housing in conjunction with the Housing Agency of Jamaica (HAJ) was part of the government’s National Land Titling Programme. This is an initiative to provide eligible Jamaicans with their own land titles.
Speaking at the handing-over ceremony, Minister without portfolio in charge of Housing, Hon. Dr. Morais Guy said he was delighted to hand over the certificates, noting that that the welfare and development of the Jamaican people is fundamental to the principles of good governance.
“Land ownership is critical to the development of any country and that is why this administration has placed special emphasis on the security of tenure,” Minister Guy said.
Continuing the Minister said, “Bedward Gardens is of great significance as it is one of the earliest communities to be brought under the umbrella of Operation PRIDE after its inception in 1995. Owning a title doesn’t only benefit residents, but will engender better relationships at the community level and inculcate a greater sense of responsibility for the environment.”
Also speaking was Managing Director of the HAJ, Mr. Karl Bennett who noted that the residents were seeing the result of what was a long and elaborate process of negotiations to reduce the cost from $500,000.00 to a total that was deemed manageable.
“It was a long process, as there are still thousands of persons outside of this area who want this opportunity, please don’t waste it,” he said.
For his part, Member of Parliament for the area, (East Rural St. Andrew), Hon Damion Crawford said that Bedward Gardens was on the list of targeted communities since the HAJ was previously Operation Pride in 1995.
“It’s been over twelve and a half years in the making; I am very proud of the residents; I am encouraging you to think about sustainability now that you have been assured of ownership,” the MP told the gathering.
Others speaking at the ceremony were Mr. Artnell McDonald, Councillor for the Division, Mrs Claudette Thomas, Principal of the Covenant Basic School who offered prayers and Ms Delores Stephenson who gave the vote of thanks. The Covenant Basic School provided entertainment.