PM hands over house to woman after gov’t demolished her structure Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

Shaneil Francis, the woman whose house was among illegal homes demolished by the government at a settlement near Clifton in Portmore, St Catherine, on Tuesday received a house from Prime Minister Andrew Holness.

He handed over the latest unit under the New Social Housing Programme (NSHP) to Francis in Clifton on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness (right), accompanies Shaneil Francis into her new three-bedroom house in Clifton, St Catherine, which was handed over on December 19. (Photo: JIS)

According to the prime minister, approximately 300 land titles will be handed over to residents of Clifton, in 2024 to regularise ownership of land they have occupied for several years.

“I have taken a personal interest in your community…  We now have about 200 titles ready, and I wanted to do the titling and the handing over at the same time, but as it turned out, both could not have been [because] of scheduling issues. I am going to…do it sometime in February and by then we should have about 300 titles ready,” he said.

Francis, who received a three-bedroom house, was one of the victims of a land scam in the Greater Bernard Lodge development area and her unfinished structure was taken down in October 2022.

Holness had committed to assisting Francis in receiving a legal structure.

During Tuesday’s handover ceremony, he pledged that “similar treatment” would be extended to other persons who were impacted by the land scam as soon as they regularise themselves.

He noted that persons are already in discussion with Sugar Company of Jamaica (SCJ) Holdings Limited, which owns the property, to arrive at a solution.

Holness said the Government remains committed to the formal development of communities and is creating avenues for people to legally own property. 

“Illegally occupying a piece of land does not create an asset for you. You can’t take it to the bank; you probably won’t get sewerage and road and water…. 

If you go and settle illegally, the government will not be able to follow behind you with the services,” he pointed out.

He emphasised that the stance of the Government is to build proper communities with the necessary features and amenities “to make the community livable”.

A total of 182 housing units have been built and delivered, to date, under the NSHP.