In a move to make land divestment transparent, fair and equitable, Government says it has produced a land divestment Policy framework and procedures manual.

Minister of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, Robert Pickersgill, who made the disclosure during his contribution to the 2015/16 Sectoral Debate in the House on Wednesday, said the document provides a guide to all public sector entities that are involved in the divestment of lands.

Pickersgill said that the National Land Agency (NLA) will, during the current financial year, prepare 300 duplicate certificates of title for allottees in land settlement schemes, while an electronic inventory of all government lands will be developed.

"As at March 31, 2015, 850 titles were processed by the Land Administration and Management Programme (LAMP), by way of applications to register land, and 364 existing Certificates of Title were updated with the information of the current land owners. This year, we are aiming to issue 1000 new titles," the Minister said.

He told the House that in order to lessen land conflicts between individuals, adjudication committees have been established in Narine Lands, St Catherine; Rose Town in Kingston; and in St Elizabeth.

"By the end of June, we will have established six more in Clarendon, four in Manchester, and two more in St Catherine. The Committees have adjudicated 60 matters so far," Pickersgill said.

The Adjudication Committees will be working at the community level, deliberating on the rights and interests of applicants, and providing written records of their decisions, which can be used by landowners to support land applications.

In addition, the minister reported that an amendment Bill will soon be received from the Chief Parliamentary Counsel, "which will make the law more culturally relevant and less anti-poor, taking into account the cultural norms relating to how landowners have traditionally acquired and disposed of land."

Pickersgill told the House that under a 2011 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) entered into by Noranda Bauxite Company, LAMP is seeking to produce titles for 100 parcels of land in St Ann.

In Manchester and Clarendon, a similar programme is on for some 3,000 parcels of land involving General Alumina Jamaica, formerly Jamalco.

He added that the Ministry will continue to engage the bauxite companies until the title issues are resolved.

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