#KINGSTON, April 22 (JIS): The House of Representatives on Tuesday (April 21) began debate on the Registration of Titles (Amendment) Act, 2020, which is aimed at reforming Jamaica’s land-titling system.
In his opening remarks, Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon. Daryl Vaz, said the reform is necessary due to the large number of persons occupying land whose names are not on the titles, sometimes for generations; and the need to modernise, as well as enhance administrative structures to simplify processes and reduce costs.
He further noted that the desired outcomes include increased security of tenure and a more efficient and systematic land-titling system.
“Consequently, the Bill seeks to give effect to the policy decision for implementation of an adjudication-centric and driven process for proving the ownership of land and the separation of the processes of planning and subdivision approval from the issuing of titles, under the Registration of Titles Cadastral Mapping and Tenure Clarification (Special Provisions) Act,” Mr. Vaz said.
Other outcomes include consequentially amending the Limitation of Actions Act to provide that, where boundaries are adjudicated upon and pursuant to a systematic registration process, are deemed to be acquiesced, notwithstanding any enactment to the contrary and provided the parties do not object to same.
Regarding sections of the Bill, Clause three seeks to amend Section 15 of the Act by inserting paragraph (d), which empowers the Registrar of Titles (hereinafter “Registrar”) to lodge caveats for: the protection of Trusts; and the protection of a charge for outstanding property taxes that may be applicable to any land that is the subject of the proposed section 28A (1) (b).
“The lands, subject to section 28A(1)(b), are those that the applications for registered titles were reviewed by an Adjudication Committee, which issued an Adjudication Certificate under the Registration of Titles Cadastral Mapping and Tenure Clarification (Special Provisions) Act,” Mr. Vaz said.
In addition, clause four seeks to insert Sections 28A and 28B in the Act. Mr. Vaz said the proposed Section 28A(1) seeks to provide for applications to be made to obtain registered titles without reference to the Referee of Titles where a Certificate of Compliance is issued under the Facilities for Titles Act and the applicant or his personal representative is named in the said Certificate of Compliance; an Adjudication Certificate is issued [under the] Registration of Titles Cadastral Mapping and Tenure Clarification (Special Provisions) Act by the Director of Adjudication Services or the Adjudication Committee directing that the Registrar of Titles shall issue an absolute or qualified title; and pursuant to a Court Order under which the court has determined ownership.
Clause 10 of the Bill seeks to amend Section 178 of the Act. The effect of this amendment is to increase the maximum value of the monetary penalty for offences under the Act.
Mr. Vaz said the proposed amendment empowers the Parish Court to impose on a convicted offender a fine of up to $1 million instead of the existing maximum of $1,000.
The proposed amendment also prescribes a term of imprisonment of up to six months in default of the payment of the fine, and prescribes that any certificate of title, entry, erasure or alteration so procured or made by fraud shall be void as against all parties or persons privy to such fraud.
Meanwhile, debate also started on the companion legislation, entitled, Registration of Titles Cadastral Mapping and Tenure Clarification (Special Provisions) (Amendment) Act, 2020.
The Bill seeks to give effect to the policy decision to provide for the full operations of the Land Administration and Management Programme processes, including the adjudication processes to fall under the responsibility of the Chief Executive Officer of the National Land Agency, and amend the Registration of Titles Cadastral Mapping and Tenure Clarification (Special Provisions) Regulations to give effect to the changes that will be made to the Act.
JIS News By LATONYA LINTON
Press Release: Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) Bahamas
February 3, 2023 – ILM Bahamas Centre held its Certificate Presentation Ceremony for Cohort 7. The cohort consisted of fourteen (14) Senior Immigration Officers from the Department of Immigration. This Cohort was a hybrid of in-person and online learning. Four of the Immigration Officers were from the Family Islands (Grand Bahama, Abaco, Berry Islands and Eleuthera).
Present at the ceremony were: The Hon. Keith Bell, Minister of Labour and Immigration, Madam Justice J. Denise Lewis-Johnson, Permanent Secretary Ms. Ceceila Strachan, Executive Chair of NTA Ms. Agatha Marcelle, Executive Director of NTA Mr. Terry Murray, Director of Immigration Mrs. Keturah Ferguson, Deputy Director of Immigration Mr. Dwight Beneby, Ms. Esther McKinney Office Manager at the Department of Immigration.
The guest speaker at the ceremony was Dr. Donald M. McCartney a Leadership and Management Consultant with Motivation Incorporated Bahamas and the United States. He was a former senior public servant. He was also a First Assistant Secretary in the Ministry of Public Service with responsibility for the Northern Bahamas. He was also a former educator and professor at various colleges in the United States.
In his address to ILM Cohort 7, Dr. McCartney spoke about having the courage to lead and that leadership goes beyond SELF. It’s not about you or your ego but rather more about contributing to nation building. He said, “We must be prepared to take the bold steps that would not lead us into the abyss of despair but on the road that leads us to lift up our heads to the rising sun and press onward to the mountaintop experience, which will lead us to become the proud and productive people we were destine to be.” He also expanded on the four fundamental virtues: COURAGE, TEMPERANCE, JUSTICE AND WISDOM. Additionally, he expanded on the focus and influence of courage, on the ego and discipline.
The Hon. Keith Bell, Minister of Labour and Immigration brought brief remarks on the occasion. Some of the highlights of his speech were that Immigration is one of the highest revenue earners, challenges within the Department of Immigration such as lack of autonomy from the Public Service as compared to the other armed forces. He also talked about that the fact that the top tier is going to be retired within two years and this would be an opportunity for many of the graduates of this Cohort 7 to gain upward mobility.
He also stated that there needs to be a complete overhaul of the Immigration Act, and a review of the Asylum Bill. Furthermore, he discussed the inevitable need for the relocation of the Department of Immigration from its current location. Lastly, he stated that we must tread a delicate balance between enforcing the law and being humane, in regards to shanty towns.
It is noteworthy that the ILM Centre at the National Training Agency recently obtained a Centre upgrade. The ILM Centre Bahamas now hold the statue of Direct Claim Status with City and Guilds of London. Additionally, the Centre is now registered with the National Accreditation and Equivalency Council of the Bahamas (NAECOB) for all of its current course offerings. The ILM Department is lead Miss Pamela Gomez as the ILM Centre Coordinator. Registration is now open for Level 2 Certificate in Leadership and Team Skill and Level 3 Certificate in Leadership and Management. Our mission statement is, “Helping people, organizations, and economies develop their skills for growth.”
For more information, contact the ILM Centre Bahamas located in the Gladstone Road Business Centre by calling 461-6021 or 461-6008.
Sugar and salt tax campaigns gaining steam
By Dana Malcolm
February 7, 2023 – A global battle on sugar and salt is ramping up as the United States joins The Bahamas and Barbados in creating proposals for historic sugar and salt laws.
The country’s Agricultural Department for the first time in history, proposed a cap on the amount of sugar to be allowed in school meals.
The World Health Organization has found that North America and the Caribbean have the highest rates of childhood diabetes in the world and based on the International Diabetes Federation’s Diabetes Atlas we also have the second highest prevalence of Diabetes overall for all global regions at 14 percent or 51 million people with a projected 24 percent increase in just 22 years.
Barbados, the United States, Canada, Haiti, Mexico, Belize and St. Kitts and Nevis are all suffering from incredibly high rates of diabetes.
Barbados and The Bahamas announced sugar taxes last month; the hope is to reduce the importation and sale of sugar and salt rich foods.
Advocates across the Caribbean including Jamaica, Trinidad, and others have been campaigning for sugar taxes in their own countries with support from the public.
Now the proposed nutritional rules for the United States would set firm boundaries on how much salt and sugar can legally be added to meals, setting a new standard as most food imports for countries like The Bahamas are from the US.
The plan for the US is expected to be rolled out by 2025.
The rules, are unapologetically an attempt to cut down incidences of diabetes and other diseases fueled by unhealthy diets, according to media reports.
For now, the quantities on sugar and salt additives is an idea waiting wider consultation.
TCI Office in Bahamas identified
By Dana Malcolm
#TurksandCaicos, February 7, 2023 – An office space has already been identified for an all-new TCI Immigration office in The Bahamas according to Arlington Musgrove, Minister of Immigration and Border Services.
Musgrove told Magnetic Media that the ministry was “almost there” in regard to securing the space; it indicates the Government is moving full speed ahead with plans for the passing of the new Immigration Bill which will allow third-generation TC Islanders citizenship, even as the public awaits consultations on it.
The announcement of the bill had caused some skepticism among islanders, some of whom wanted the government to focus on keeping TC Islanders at home instead of recruiting others. Musgrove however had made it clear that the TCI was in a population crisis and would need to slow down PRC naturalisation rates and naturalise people with historical, familial and cultural connections to the land or risk going ‘extinct’.
The office will work to deepen the relationship between the two sister countries even more and help increase the TCI’s population offsetting the need for masses of external labour according to the government.
When passed, the rule will apply to third-generation islanders everywhere, not only in The Bahamas giving them a free ticket to come home.
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