JAMAICA | Holness To build 30,000 Low-cost Houses over Five Years

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness (centre), in discussion with Julie Ann Sterling (left), recipient of a $9-million housing solution under the social housing programme in Salt Spring, St. James Central, on May 21. The Prime Minister was touring the house with Ms. Sterling after handing over the unit. Sharing the moment at right is Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Audrey Sewell.|JIS photo

KINGSTON, Jamaica May 22, 2021 - Prime Minister Andrew Holness says his Administration is committed to empowering more Jamaicans and positively changing communities through property rights.

Speaking yesterday at the ceremony to hand over a new home to Ms. Julian Sterling under the National Social Housing Programme, Prime Minister Holness noted that through planned communities, Jamaica can achieve structured and orderly development.

He  said, “Ultimately, what this will do is to transform how people view property. We cannot have a competitive, vibrant economy if people don’t believe they can genuinely and legally own property. Once that is done, we have an ownership economy then people will start to respect property rights. This is how you reform Jamaica, by building structured, orderly communities and giving persons a chance to acquire them legally through the formal system.”

In this regard, the Prime Minister noted that the Government continues to aggressively pursue the building of the 70,000 housing solutions through the collaborative efforts of the National Housing Trust and the Housing Agency of Jamaica. He notes that of the houses to be built, 30,000 should ideally be priced at a maximum of $8 million each making them more accessible to low-income earners.

Prime Minister Holness said, “We are transforming Jamaica one house at a time, but we are scaling it up rapidly, creating 30,000 housing solutions in the affordable price range. This is more than enough for every Jamaican seeking homeownership within the next five years.”

Moreover, the Prime Minister added, “There are those who continue to encourage persons to squat on lands, and there are those who continue to push the view that we must ignore property rights and just settle as you wish and as you will. That is a recipe for destruction. The very reason we have these problems that we have now is because we have been settling land in this way”.

In that regard, Prime Minister Holness noted that the Government intends to correct the historical unequal distribution of land in an orderly and equitably way.

The Prime Minister also indicated that the Government intends to work with persons who are now occupying lands illegally by finding ways for them to either become regularized or amicably relocated.

In the meantime, as of May 7, 2021, a total of 30 housing units were completed under the National Social Housing Programme.

These include 14 three bedrooms, 12 two bedrooms, 2 one bedrooms and one (1) tenement yard upgrading.

The beneficiary, Julian Sterling, who lives with her 84-year-old mother, her daughter, and nieces, received a three-bedroom dwelling.

Currently, there are 15 social housing units under construction which are slated for completion by July.

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