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Stabroek News

Government of Jamaica to introduce new policy for land divestment
published: Friday | September 29, 2006

Dionne Rose, Parliamentary Reporter

Government will by year-end change the way in which it divests all government-owned land.

This will be done through the introduction of a divestment manual, which will serve as an official handbook outlining policy and procedure for divestment of Govern-ment-owned lands.

Minister of Agriculture and Lands, Roger Clarke, made the disclosure Tuesday, while responding to questions previously tabled in the House of Representatives by Opposition spokesman on Finance, Audley Shaw.

Mr. Clarke said the decision was made recently to introduce the manual to rein in other Government agencies that were divesting their own lands.

"A consultant has been engaged and a draft policy framework document has been submitted and is presently the subject of internal reviews and review by the National Land Divestment Committee," he told the House.

Mr. Clarke also revealed that the Government could not find documents to account for how lands were divested during the 1980s.

"It was extremely difficult to provide answers for the period even from 2001 until now," he told Government member, Donald Buchanan who had asked for information for this period.

Documentation difficult

He said it was not until the 1990s that a serious attempt was made to put together a listing of all Govern-ment properties.

"It is going to be extremely difficult because documentation surrounding disposal during the '80s cannot be found," Clarke said.

Mr. Buchanan said the ministry would try earnestly to salvage information during this period.

Meanwhile, the minister said for the period April 2001 to December 31, 2005, 170 government properties were divested by way of sale at a value of $418 million and 86 properties by way of lease or sub-lease at an accumulated value of $9 million.

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