“JELDIP” is a Social & Economic Intervention Policy Proposal for Jamaica – Dated March 26, 2012

6 Apr

REAL CHANGE FOR JAMAICA – DISCUSSION FORUM & WATCHDOG GROUP

(“RCFJ”, A JAMAICAN DIASPORA GROUP)

Located on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/groups/RealChangeForJamaica/

Los Angeles, CA, USA ——- Email: Trevor@rcfj.org

A Social & Economic Intervention Policy Proposal for Jamaica:

Jamaica Equity Land Distribution & Improvement Programme (“JELDIP”)

March 26, 2012

Presented to the Prime Minister of Jamaica, the Most Honourable Portia Simpson Miller, ON, MP, on Wednesday, April 4, 2012, by Trevor H. Francis, CPA, MST, Founder & Convener of RCFJ Forum & Watchdog Group  

 

JELDIP Policy Proposal was authored & researched by: 

Trevor H. Francis, CPA, MST    

                                       

*JELDIP was not commissioned by the Government of Jamaica*

 


REAL CHANGE FOR JAMAICA – DISCUSSION FORUM & WATCHDOG GROUP

(“RCFJ”, A JAMAICAN DIASPORA GROUP)

Located on Facebook at:
http://www.facebook.com/groups/RealChangeForJamaica/

Los Angeles, CA, USA ——- Email: Trevor@rcfj.org

TABLE OF CONTENTS

                                                                                                                    Page No.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY ……………………………………………..   3 – 8

PROPOSAL ADDRESSED TO THE PRIME MINISTER

OF JAMAICA …………………………………………………………..     9 – 27

ATTACHMENT #1 ………………………………………………………        28

ATTACHMENT #2 ………………………………………………………       29

ATTACHMENT #3 ………………………………………………………       30

ATTACHMENT #4 ………………………………………………………       31

ATTACHMENT #5 ………………………………………………………       32

REFERENCES ……………………………………………………………  33 – 36


REAL CHANGE FOR JAMAICA – DISCUSSION FORUM & WATCHDOG GROUP

(“RCFJ”, A JAMAICAN DIASPORA GROUP)

Located on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/groups/RealChangeForJamaica/

Los Angeles, CA, USA ——- Email: Trevor@rcfj.org

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

This Proposal (“JELDIP“) comes at a time when many (possibly the majority of) Jamaicans agree that Jamaica is at an economic crossroads. At the core of JELDIP is the principle and belief that since the entire land and country called Jamaica, through obtaining its ‘Independence’ on August 6, 1962, was effectively the compensation (reparations) to the peoples of Africa, and other origins, who were unjustly removed from their original mother-lands and continent (Africa), and to the peoples who already inhabited Jamaica whose lives were also unjustly interrupted, and since based on existing international laws it appears there is no hope for any other forms of reparations from our Colonial Slave Masters, in order to expedite a comparable internal economic restitution program for their descendants (a known disadvantaged people), we propose that the government of Jamaica take into consideration the fact that the entire land and country called Jamaica is in fact owned by all Jamaicans, and as such, it should be equitably distributed on an *economic needs only basis* in a way which will create massive amounts of employments, businesses, and other economic opportunities through this proposed social and economic intervention policy which will accomplish and inure the following solutions and benefits to Jamaica and Jamaicans:

JELDIP Solutions & Benefits

  • The full implementation of JELDIP, and the related recommendations, will provide a minimum of US$1.355 billion (or JA$116.556 billion) in additional *Tax Revenues*  annually for the government of Jamaica (based on US$1 to JA$86). That amount (US$1.355 billion) exceeds the existing US$1.27 billion IMF “27-Month Standby Agreement” which the GOJ is yet to access based on IMF conditionalities.
  • Provide massive amounts of long-term sustainable regular employments and self-employments, businesses, and other economic opportunities for an estimated 560,000 Jamaicans. (We estimate that Jamaica’s current unemployment rate is hovering between 14 and 20 percent. Based on “STATIN,” the unemployment rate was 12.8 percent in July 2011). (Please view the video provided by using the link at Reference #11)
  • Significantly reduce Jamaica’s unemployment rate and simultaneously reduce poverty (the 2010 estimate of poverty level is 19.60 percent (PSWG)).

                                                                                                                                                    
Page 3


REAL CHANGE FOR JAMAICA – DISCUSSION FORUM & WATCHDOG GROUP

(“RCFJ”, A JAMAICAN DIASPORA GROUP)

Located on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/groups/RealChangeForJamaica/

Los Angeles, CA, USA ——- Email: Trevor@rcfj.org

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY (Continued)

JELDIP Solutions & Benefits (Continued)

  • Utilize and transform, to the extent possible and feasible, to productive usages, all existing government owned farmable parcels of land which are currently sitting in a state of unproductiveness.
  • Allow massive amounts of new home ownerships, since the *newly propertied* Jamaican farmers could also reside on their farms.
  • Allow the government of Jamaica to re-examine its current *Property Tax Regime* and come to realize that the current tax regime is laughable and disgraceful, since, for decades now, it has allowed the super-rich land owners (local & foreign owned) to effectively rob Jamaica of billions of dollars by not paying equitable property taxes (when compared with other countries). Jamaica’s *Property Tax Rates* are currently based on the “Unimproved Value” of land, not the “Improved Value” as is the case in many countries. Additionally, since it is estimated that a significant amount of parcels of land in Jamaica are not on the Register Book of Titles, we propose, as part of the implementation of JELDIP, that Jamaica revise its entire *Property Tax Regime* (based on current best practices of other CARICOM countries) by updating the Tax Roll by way of registering all parcels of land based on their “Improved Values” with minimal exemptions (mostly for pensioners), and assess reasonable tax rates to produce the equivalent of 10 percent of GDP. There should be an adequate balance between the recurrent Property Tax Rate and the Property Transfer Tax Rate. The tax on property transfers should not be high as it cascades and affects the real estate market. The recurrent property tax provides a more stable flow of revenue to the treasury.
  • Provide unprecedented economic benefits to Jamaica and Jamaicans by way of significantly revitalizing our *Agricultural Sector* and significantly reducing the amount of foods Jamaica currently import, thereby helping to alleviate Jamaica’s *Balance of Payment* (“BOP”) problem.

REAL CHANGE FOR JAMAICA – DISCUSSION FORUM & WATCHDOG GROUP

(“RCFJ”, A JAMAICAN DIASPORA GROUP)

Located on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/groups/RealChangeForJamaica/

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY (Continued)

JELDIP Solutions & Benefits (Continued)

  • Increase Jamaica’s entire Tax Base (Property, Income, GCT Taxes, etc.), thereby providing significant amounts of *NEW* sources of revenues to Jamaica.
  • Allow Jamaica to significantly reduce its *National Debt*.
  • Help to provide unprecedented levels of annual economic growth, thereby significantly improving Jamaica’s GDP and its overall economy.

Recommendations and Proposed Terms & Conditions (“RPT&C”)

1. We strongly recommend that the parcels of land (“properties”) should be distributed to resident Jamaicans only, on an *economic needs only basis*. The economic needs and equitable acreage distribution formula should be determined based on elected representatives’ (MPs’) consensus.

2. In order to ensure that distribution of the properties is not politicized, we strongly recommend that an independent non-partisan Commission or Agency should be established, and said Commission or Agency, its Board of Directors and Executive Director should be constitutionally entrenched to administer the entire management and operations of JELDIP.

3. We strongly recommend that all recipients of such properties must be held responsible to work the land as a business enterprise, *primarily* for legal farming purposes, and must be registered as such for property, income, and GCT tax purposes.

                                                                                                                                                                 


REAL CHANGE FOR JAMAICA – DISCUSSION FORUM & WATCHDOG GROUP

(“RCFJ”, A JAMAICAN DIASPORA GROUP)

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY (Continued)

Recommendations and Proposed Terms & Conditions (“RPT&C”) (Continued)

4. While we recommend that there should be no required mortgage payments on the distributed properties (except as noted in RPT&C (6) below), and although said properties may be owned FREE and CLEAR by the recipients without any purchase payments (or by their legally designated beneficiaries) after 20 years have elapsed from the initial date of distribution (if all conditions are satisfied), we strongly recommend that the government of Jamaica should hold a 20-year lien on said properties, with strict performance requirements as to their farming usages, or other government approved business enterprise usages thereon. However, the recipients should be given the option to accelerate full ownership by purchasing the properties at their fair-market values, but only after working said properties, as agreed upon between them (the recipients) and the government of Jamaica, for a minimum of 10 years.

5. We recommend that all recipients of said properties should be allowed the option to reside on their land. (Please review excerpts at Attachment #4)

6. We recommend that the government of Jamaica, through the Ministry of Agriculture, should consider providing financial assistance to these new farmers by offering grants or subsidized loans (zero-interest loans secured by the land) to help them cover the costs of land preparation and agricultural goods/produce production.

7. In the spirit of patriotism and good corporate citizenship, we recommend that members of Corporate Jamaica should be approached and encouraged by the government of Jamaica to lend assistance to these new farmers by offering them mentoring programs, sponsorships, and assisting them with drafting their Business Plans, etc.

8. We recommend that tertiary educational institutions should be approached and encouraged by the government of Jamaica to lend assistance to these new farmers by helping them with drafting their Business Plans and teaching them the basics of good record keeping (bookkeeping, etc.).


REAL CHANGE FOR JAMAICA – DISCUSSION FORUM & WATCHDOG GROUP

(“RCFJ”, A JAMAICAN DIASPORA GROUP)

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY (Continued)

Recommendations and Proposed Terms & Conditions (“RPT&C”) (Continued)

9. Remittances: Based on what we predict will eventually occur (as to the “Inevitable Jamaican Diaspora Generational Shift), we strongly recommend that the government of Jamaica be proactive in that regard by implementing various policies which will compensate for the eventual loss of approximately 15 percent contribution to GDP (Remittances) which we estimate will gradually disappear over the next 15 to 20 years. We believe that JELDIP will help to make many Jamaicans, who are now dependent on remittances, less dependent on that source of income, and even eventually be able to provide for themselves without the benefits of remittances.

According to the U.S Department of State, Jamaica’s GDP was estimated in 2010 to be US$13.69 billion (the CIA estimated Jamaica’s GDP at US$14.7 billion for 2011). According to Bank of Jamaica’s “Remittance Report January 2012,” remittance inflows were US$1.695 billion for the first 10 months of the 2011/12 fiscal year. If we annualize that remittance inflows for 10 months, and project them to a one-year period, the result is an annual remittance inflow of US$2.034 billion. If we used the estimated 2010 GDP to extrapolate what that annual remittance amount of US$2.034 billion represents as a

percentage contribution to GDP (US$2.034B/US$13.69B), the result is 15 percent (rounded up). Therefore, our estimate of remittances contributing 15 percent to GDP appears reasonable. (Note: We used the 2010 GDP estimate to be conservative).

 


REAL CHANGE FOR JAMAICA – DISCUSSION FORUM & WATCHDOG GROUP

(“RCFJ”, A JAMAICAN DIASPORA GROUP)

Located on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/groups/RealChangeForJamaica/

Los Angeles, CA, USA ——- Email: Trevor@rcfj.org

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY (Continued)

Recommendations and Proposed Terms & Conditions (“RPT&C”) (Continued)

10. Property Tax Revenues: As shown in this Proposal, in 2003, *Property Tax Revenues* contributed over 3 ½ percent to GDP. However, by 2009, *Property Tax Revenues* contributed only 0.1 percent to GDP. We strongly recommend that as part of the implementation of JELDIP, *Property Tax* be assessed, and compliance laws strictly and strongly enforced (including placing liens on, and selling properties for non-compliance), such that it contributes a minimum of 10 percent to GDP. If we used the estimated 2010 GDP to extrapolate the 0.1 percent which *Property Tax Revenues* contributed to GDP in 2009, the result is US$13.69 million (or JA$1.177 billion). However, if we used the estimated 2010 GDP to extrapolate and project *Property Tax Revenues* contributing 10 percent to GDP, the result is US$1.369 billion (or JA$117.734 billion). Clearly, the huge difference between the government collecting US$1.369 billion (or JA$117.734 billion), instead of US$13.69 million (or JA$1.177 billion), annually is readily visible, and such increase in *Property Tax Revenues* could be utilized to finance JELDIP, if necessary, over the proposed 20-Year-Government-Commitment period. That increase in Property Tax Revenues could also be used to help offset the expected decline in remittances in the next 15 to 20 years, as predicted herein.

We strongly believe that JELDIP, while not a panacea for solving all of Jamaica’s social and economic problems, if fully implemented, it will help Jamaica and Jamaicans in many substantial ways, and help to move Jamaica forward in a sustainable way. In our opinion, the government of Jamaica is under-utilizing and under-taxing the *original source of wealth* (LAND), and while it is borrowing from the IMF, it is yet to capitalize on possibly its most valuable asset (LAND), thereby making Jamaica less dependent on the IMF and other such sources of funds.

We are confident that the current government of Jamaica possesses the requisite *Political Will* to fully implement this proposed social and economic intervention policy. As such, we sincerely hope that JELDIP will be fully implemented as soon as feasibly possible.

Page 8

REAL CHANGE FOR JAMAICA – DISCUSSION FORUM & WATCHDOG GROUP (“RCFJ”, A JAMAICAN DIASPORA GROUP)

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Monday, March 26, 2012

The Most Honourable Portia Simpson Miller, ON, MP

Prime Minister of Jamaica

Office of the Prime Minister of Jamaica

1 Devon Road

Kingston 6, Jamaica, W.I

Proposal From: RCFJ Forum & Watchdog Group

Named: Jamaica Equity Land Distribution & Improvement Programme (“JELDIP”)

Dear Prime Minister,

We are fully cognizant of the fact that you and your administration know that Jamaica is at an economic crossroads, and that you and your administration must make the right decisions as to how you move Jamaica forward in a sustainable way.

We have reviewed the current Tax Reform Proposal for Jamaica, as proposed by the Private Sector Working Group (“PSWG”), which was published in the Jamaica Gleaner on Thursday, March 15, 2012, and noted the following data with great consternation:

  • Poverty level (2010 est.): 19.6% (Source: PSWG Tax Reform Proposal for Jamaica).
  • GDP to debt ratio (2011/12): 131% (Source: PSWG Tax Reform Proposal for Jamaica).
  • Deficit of (2011/12 est.): -7.6% (Source: PSWG Tax Reform Proposal for Jamaica).
  • Primary Balance (2011/12 est.) 3.4% vs target 5% (Source: PSWG Tax Reform Proposal for Jamaica).

Page 9


REAL CHANGE FOR JAMAICA – DISCUSSION FORUM & WATCHDOG GROUP (“RCFJ”, A JAMAICAN DIASPORA GROUP)

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  • Average GDP growth rate (2001 to 2010): 0.8 % (Source: PSWG Tax Reform Proposal for Jamaica).

Additionally, we could not help but notice that while the PSWG proposed a 54% corporate income tax rate reduction which will inure direct financial benefits to them, they paid scant attention to the glaring inequities (the method used to assess property taxes) presently existing in Jamaica’s current Property Tax Regime.

We are deeply troubled by the following facts:

  • The current Government ‘Green Paper‘ on Tax Reform is silent as to Property Taxes. Property Tax (Real Estate) is based on the “Unimproved Value” instead of the “Improved Value” of the property. (Please refer to References #8, 9 & 10)
  • We noticed that as far back as fiscal year 2000/2001, Property Taxes yielded a mere JA$595 million, while the expenditure in that year on the major property related services was JA$1.53 billion, which was clearly insufficient to provide the level of services required. (Please refer to Reference #7). Our research indicates that the situation as to Property Tax Revenues compared to the major property related services has gotten worse in a very significant way, such that it is a major drain on the public purse.
  • While several other CARICOM countries’ *Property Tax Revenues to GDP* are estimated to be between three and five percent, Jamaica lags behind with a one-tenth of one percent *Property Tax Revenues to GDP*. (Please refer to Attachment #2 & #3)
  • While Jamaica’s *Property Tax Revenues to GDP* contribution was over three and one-half percent in 2003, it contributed only one-tenth of one percent in 2009. (Please refer to Attachment #3)
  • While several other CARICOM countries enjoys excellent *Property Tax* compliance, Jamaica suffers from between 53 and 55 percent *Property Tax* collection delinquency. (Please refer to Attachment #1, and References 9 & 10)

REAL CHANGE FOR JAMAICA – DISCUSSION FORUM & WATCHDOG GROUP (“RCFJ”, A JAMAICAN DIASPORA GROUP)

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We further note, with great admiration, since it portends a form of patriotism, the following statements contained in the PSWG’s Tax Reform Proposal: “Today we face perhaps our greatest economic challenge as a country since independence. While we celebrate 50 years of political independence in 2012, we are yet to achieve true economic independence in which all Jamaicans have a stake. It is in recognition of our own role in past failed efforts to comprehensively reform our tax regime that the private sector has come together to address this issue in the national interest. For too long national objectives have been subordinated to short-term political, sectoral and other special interest agendas promoted by powerful persons with access. We urgently need national solutions that PUT JAMAICA FIRST.”

We Propose a Social & Economic Intervention Policy through Land Ownership Reformation by Giving Poor Jamaicans a Piece of Jamaica

Indeed, the PSWG is correct as to Jamaica facing perhaps its “greatest economic challenge as a country since independence” and that “while we celebrate 50 years of political independence in 2012, we are yet to achieve true economic independence in which all Jamaicans have a stake.” And, we agree with them that “we urgently need national solutions that PUT JAMAICA FIRST.” It is with those very sentiments in mind why we believe the time is right for the government of Jamaica to implement a *major social and economic intervention policy* based on a 20-Year-Government-Commitment-Programme. While our history shows that there were times when the government of Jamaica made such interventions and achieved some amount of success, it also shows that there were times when it lost its focus and allowed some of those programmes to fail or near fail. (Please view the video provided by using the link at Reference #11)

Relevant Background

The government’s first attempts to intervene in the economy occurred during early self-government in the form of national macroeconomic planning that stated only the broadest of economic objectives. The first such government plan was the “Ten-Year Plan of Development,” issued in 1947 and revised in 1951. Industrialization, however, was eventually spurred on more by industrial incentive legislation than by macroeconomic planning.

REAL CHANGE FOR JAMAICA – DISCUSSION FORUM & WATCHDOG GROUP (“RCFJ”, A JAMAICAN DIASPORA GROUP)

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Legislation during the first two decades after World War II changed the pace of industrialization and the structure of the economy. Generous fiscal incentives (such as tax holidays, accelerated depreciation rates, duty-free importation of raw materials, tariff protection, and subsidized factory space) served to emphasize industry and services over agriculture, particularly manufacturing, mining, and tourism. The manufacturing sector grew as a result of important government acts, such as the Pioneer Industries Law of 1949, the Industrial Incentives Law of 1956, and the Export Industries Law of 1956. Investment in the bauxite and alumina sector was encouraged by the Bauxite and Alumina Act of 1950. The Hotel Aid Law of 1944 provided a similar catalyst to investment in the tourism sector.

During the first decade of independence, government policies generally continued the efforts of the 1950s to lure investment in mining, manufacturing, tourism and, by the 1960s, in banking and insurance. A large number of foreign corporations, mostly from the United States, were established in Jamaica as a result of the “industrialization by invitation” strategy that was based on the Puerto Rican growth model of development.

During the administration of former Prime Minister, the Most Honourable Michael Manley, government involvement in the economy increased significantly from 1972 to 1980, establishing one of the largest public sectors in the Caribbean. Mr. Manley advocated a “third path” development strategy that viewed Jamaica as a nonaligned, independent member of the Third World. This approach rejected both the Puerto Rican and Cuban models of development and sought to reverse democratically the inequitable distribution of wealth in Jamaica.

Policies included the creation of Rural Health Schemes, Food Subsidies, Literacy Campaigns, Free Secondary and Higher Education, a National Minimum Wage, Equal Pay for Women, Project Land Lease, Sugar Cooperatives, and Rent and Price Controls.

Between 1972 and 1976, the Manley government carried out a small agrarian reform program, Project Land Lease, which sought to alleviate high unemployment by introducing job creation schemes and redistributing concentrated land holdings. The reform process included the creation of agricultural cooperatives, including the formation of a Sugar Workers Cooperative Council.

(Reference #2, Source: U.S. Library of Congress)

REAL CHANGE FOR JAMAICA – DISCUSSION FORUM & WATCHDOG GROUP (“RCFJ”, A JAMAICAN DIASPORA GROUP)

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The National Land Policy

In July, 1996, during the P.J Patterson administration, the National Land Policy was tabled in Parliament. It recognized the finite nature of Jamaica’s land resources and the need to correct decades of indiscriminate use and poor development practices.  The Government coordinated the preparation of the policy by employing a broad-based participatory and consultative mechanism. Consideration was given to both the terrestrial areas, some 11,424 square kilometers, and territorial waters, approximately 25 times the size of Jamaica, as well as the atmospheric and sub surface areas.  The objectives of the policy are to ensure the sustainable productive and equitable development, conservation, use and management of the country’s natural and man-made resources and promote comprehensive and integrated development in urban and rural areas.  Measures to achieve these goals and objectives include equity and fairness in access and distribution of land, economic diversification, the development of centres of growth as appropriate.  The Policy aims to complement socio-economic development plans and programmes including poverty eradication, while challenging and seeking to remove inefficient, onerous and outdated legal, administrative, management and other barriers. The Policy specifies the development and implementation of a rational set of strategies, programmes and projects to facilitate stable and sustainable development.

The broad-based participatory process used to develop the National Land Policy over several years, established the framework, which enabled many Jamaicans to become more conscious of how best to protect and develop the country’s resources. The National Land Policy was a product of love and labour done free of charge involving several hundred Jamaicans for the well-being of Jamaicans. Inputs were made by the public and private sector organization and individuals from the public as well as professionals, NGOs, community, educational, religious groups and special interest groups. It was the subject of discussion in many parts of the island through public fora. The draft policy was also commented on by members of bilateral and multilateral financial institutions and knowledgeable experts from across the world.

The policy recognised that failure to adopt appropriate rural and urban land policies and prevailing land management practices has been a primary cause of inequity, poverty and

REAL CHANGE FOR JAMAICA – DISCUSSION FORUM & WATCHDOG GROUP (“RCFJ”, A JAMAICAN DIASPORA GROUP)

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inadequate economic development. It also identified many of the critical land issues in the country, the cause of problems such as degradation of forests and watersheds, scattered and

linear development, unplanned urban development, squatting, illegal development activities, occupation of hazard prone and other unsuitable areas, increased living costs, environmental pollution, and increased vulnerability affecting the nation, especially the disadvantaged, and low income earners.

Land Ownership Access and Security of Tenure Issues

One of the major problems facing Jamaica, and most developing countries, is the inaccessibility and unaffordability of land to a large portion of the population, particularly low-income

households.  The unavailability of legally accessible and affordable land has contributed to the chronic problems of squatting and other illegal development on both government and private lands, sometimes under severely precarious and environmentally unfriendly conditions.

Government Land Settlements and Housing Schemes

Land settlements and housing programmes have traditionally been part of the Jamaican Government’s social agenda. The aims have been to make land and housing accessible and affordable and to provide security of tenure to lower socio-economic groups. The price of the land allocated to beneficiaries under these various programmes has normally been discounted or subsidized and in many instances bears no relation to the actual cost of the land or development undertaken. The high cost of infrastructure, roads, drainage, sewage disposal system, water supply etc and the corresponding budgetary constraints have prevented the required infrastructure for these settlements from being developed and/or properly maintained.  Most of the infrastructure developed does not meet the standards normally required by the relevant authorities to enable the conveyance of registered titles.  Thousands of settlers however, have been sold or given permission to occupy lots/houses in these land settlements and housing schemes over several years, some for as many as 40 years, but they have not been able to receive registered titles to their holdings.  This has resulted at times, in the lack of security with respect to tenure, low productivity, inability to access credit, abandonment and illegal

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sale/mortgage of whole or part of the holdings in several instances.   It is estimated that there are as many as 50,000 parcels of land in Housing Schemes and Land Settlements for which titles have not been issued.

Titling Activities

In 1989 the government of Jamaica with an IDB loan undertook the Jamaica Land Titling Project. The primary objective of the Project was to assist the Government of Jamaica in its efforts to establish a land management system that would order and secure tenancy in rural farming areas. Between 1989 and 1996 a total of 13,000 titles were delivered through the programme to beneficiaries on Government Land Settlements. This was the first serious effort by Government to issue titles to beneficiaries of Land Settlement Programmes. During this programme one fifth of the sites examined could not be titled because of a range of problems in identifying proper owners etc. However, in order to facilitate the issuing of titles to persons benefiting from the Land Settlement and Housing programmes, the Government took a policy decision to issue titles to those beneficiaries with infrastructure ‘as is’ and to develop over-time a project to improve on a priority basis the infrastructure needed.

Divestment Policy

Government recognizes that it is the largest owner of real estate and committed in the National Land Policy to ensuring a transparent land acquisition and divestment policy. Analysis of its land inventory indicated that the government owns approximately 45,000 parcels, held by over 20 entities. Some of these parcels are under-utilized and not properly managed.

The Policy recognized the critical nature of the land tenure patterns of Jamaica and related social and economic implications and stated Government’s decision to accelerate its land divestment programme. The policy for lands divestment is intended to alleviate the problems associated with landlessness, while motivating the nation to realize higher levels of productivity.  This is consistent with Government’s privatization policy.  A major focus of the programme is to provide land, for low-income earners, squatter settlement upgrading and regularization and for government employees.  In addition to the lands it already owns, government will when necessary, acquire lands for future development of infrastructure, provision of social facilities,


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urban upgrading, housing, commercial and industrial activities as well as for environmental and historical preservation.

                                                                                                                                          Divestment Programmes

Three major programmes have been put in place for the divestment and distribution of land.

These include:-

- Emancipation Lands

- The Establishment of Community Economic Centers

- Operation PRIDE

Emancipation Lands

The Emancipation Lands Programme was developed to identify, plan and divest 100 hectares of lands in each parish (where feasible).  The lands are being made available to low-income landless families at minimum prices or reasonable long-term leases to undertake a variety of production activities mainly agricultural. Tenure is either freehold or leasehold and is being done either to groups or individuals. The Ministry of Agriculture is responsible for the planning and divestment of the agricultural properties and the Ministry of Land and Environment is dealing with other properties in conjunction with other relevant agencies.

Community Economic Centers

Many members of the informal sector have been undertaking commercial, light industrial and other economic activities in squatted and often unsuitable areas. A significant portion of the country’s small-scale economic activities are carried out by such persons and Government has acknowledged that it needs to assist in “formalizing” when feasible this segment of the society.


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One way is to provide lands and opportunities for them to build their own facilities and to undertake economic activities in a legally acceptable and safe manner.  Government agencies have identified a number of sites for the Economic Centres and will continue to develop and implement the programme in partnership with communities.

Operation Pride

In 1995 government announced that it would begin a major land distribution for development programme, called Operation PRIDE. This was necessary because a large percentage of the population cannot access affordable land for housing, agricultural, commercial, light industrial and other uses. The Programme for Resettlement and Integrated Development Enterprise (PRIDE) was intended to increase access to land and security of tenure for the landless, the less fortunate in the society and for government employees.

The government began implementing the programme on a phased basis, but on the advice of certain professionals involved in the programme, changes were made in the proposed methods of implementation. Having tried these methods in a number of pilot areas, it was determined that it is not in the best interest of the majority of the landless, poor and other beneficiaries to pursue present practices, as the resulting costs of the solutions are too prohibitive. Many who were intended to benefit were not doing so. It was intended that government by using its lands, would be the catalyst for this type of programme and that the private sector, religious and other groups would be encouraged to participate in the programme as providers of land and assist with the implementation. Unfortunately, this did not take place.

The government therefore decided that the original policy and programme strategy that was developed for Operation PRIDE with assistance from various sectors should be revisited and

pursued. The communities and groups of persons to benefit from the programme became more involved in the planning and managed the development of their communities, with professional guidance. These persons have been using their initiatives and resources to help themselves to secure shelter and provide economic opportunities.

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Los Angeles, CA, USA ——- Email: Trevor@rcfj.org

The government, through Operation PRIDE, acted as a facilitator, and a catalyst for the purpose of providing lands and technical expertise etc., to the beneficiaries who were chosen through a transparent process. The beneficiaries working with government and other groups ensured that legal and environmentally safe communities were developed.

Manuals designed and developed to assist low-income communities, including those under Operation PRIDE, to incrementally develop affordable and environmentally sound shelter solutions, are available for use to facilitate the process.

Government’s aim is to continue to implement the non-partisan programme in a properly planned and timely manner. It is hoped that through this initiative, the government will stimulate the private sector, NGOs, churches, and others to get involved in this national programme, which addresses many of the social ills that affect the society. The Programme is viewed by government as an integral part of its Social Agenda, as it will result in thousands of persons gaining legal access to lands for a variety of uses. Over 20,000 families have already benefited from the programme. It allowed thousands of government workers the opportunity to eventually own a home. It helped to create viable and genuinely integrated communities, ensured sustainable and environmentally safe development, created employment opportunities, reduced violence and crime, encouraged social harmony and family unity, and instilled in the beneficiaries the values and attitudes which the society needs for survival and prosperity.

Cadastral Mapping, Clarification and Tenure Regularization Issues

A major problem affecting land owners has been that a large number of property owners have no registered titles for their land. This situation has negatively affected homeowners, farmers and business persons ability to secure mortgages and related financing to improve and develop the properties especially businesses etc. It also influences the levels of property taxes collected for reinvestment into communities.

REAL CHANGE FOR JAMAICA – DISCUSSION FORUM & WATCHDOG GROUP (“RCFJ”, A JAMAICAN DIASPORA GROUP)

Located on Facebook at:
http://www.facebook.com/groups/RealChangeForJamaica/

Los Angeles, CA, USA ——- Email: Trevor@rcfj.org

There are approximately 680,000 parcels of lands listed on the property valuation roll in Jamaica. It is the opinion of many professionals dealing with land that if all the illegal sub-divisions were taken into consideration, there could be over 1,000,000 parcels of lands listed on the property valuation roll in Jamaica.  The cadastral index currently in use covers a small portion of the island and the cadastral map covers an even smaller percentage of the island.

It is estimated that approximately 45% of parcels are not on the Register Book of Titles. This has its own difficulties, resulting primarily in limited documentation as to ownership. This also results in great gaps in the Register.  In the absence of a comprehensive cadastral map and with outdated records, the Office of Titles is confronted daily with serious issue of dual registration.

In 2001, the government signed an agreement with the IDB to undertake a Land Administration and Management Programme. The major portion of the loan was to undertake a pilot programme to prepare a cadastral map for 30,000 parcels of land in the parish of St. Catherine and to undertake tenure clarification and regularization of these parcels.

Updating Property Tax Roll

The fact that in many instances individuals’ claims to properties are tenuous, has affected the revenue departments’ abilities to collect property taxes. Fifty percent of persons interviewed who are in possession of land were not on the Tax Roll. Many of these persons express the view that without their names being on the Tax Roll they feel no obligation to pay. Such views may find greater support in light of the recent increases in property taxes. Persons with insecure tenure also feel that it is risky to undertake long-term development of lands; hence many erect houses and plant crops that are not of a long-term nature. (Reference #3, Source: Land Policy Administration and Management – A Jamaican Case Study)

REAL CHANGE FOR JAMAICA – DISCUSSION FORUM & WATCHDOG GROUP (“RCFJ”, A JAMAICAN DIASPORA GROUP)

Located on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/groups/RealChangeForJamaica/

Los Angeles, CA, USA ——- Email: Trevor@rcfj.org

IDB Warns of Impact of Rising Food Prices on Region

The rising international food prices could trigger an acceleration of inflation in several countries in Latin America and the Caribbean this year, highlighting the need for policies to protect the urban poor, according to a new study by Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).  And it warned that the urban poor that do not have access to any enhanced income from self-grown products are most at risk from the food price shock.  Also expected to be hard hit by higher international food prices are net food importers with a greater share of spending concentrated on tradable foodstuffs and with little room to let their currency appreciate.

“There is a need to increase and improve targeting of aid, perhaps through reformed conditional cash transfer schemes, to these groups to compensate the effect of the food price surge,” according to the Policy Note published by the IDB’s Research Department.

“How will the food price shock affect inflation in Latin America and the Caribbean.”

The report estimates the potential inflationary impact of higher international food and oil prices in the region and discusses policies that can be used to alleviate the impact of higher food prices on inflation.

The study concludes that rising oil prices will only significantly affect inflation in a small number of countries in the region this year. (Reference #4 & Attachment #5, Source: IDB Article Published on in Washington, United States, on Monday May 2, 2011)


REAL CHANGE FOR JAMAICA – DISCUSSION FORUM & WATCHDOG GROUP (“RCFJ”, A JAMAICAN DIASPORA GROUP)

Located on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/groups/RealChangeForJamaica/

Los Angeles, CA, USA ——- Email: Trevor@rcfj.org

The Inevitable Jamaican Diaspora Generational Shift Will Negatively Impact Remittances

Remittances represent, on average, approximately 15 percent of Jamaica’s GDP, and are the main barometer of the impact the Jamaican Diaspora has on Jamaica. According to Bank of Jamaica’s “Remittance Report January 2012,” remittance inflows were US$1.695 billion for the first 10 months of the 2011/12 fiscal year. Based on a recent Jamaica Gleaner article, the government of Jamaica, through the World Bank, will be floating various Jamaican Diaspora Bonds. However, if the government of Jamaica has not yet factored *The Inevitable Jamaican Diaspora Generational Shift*  (which we estimate will occur within the next 15 to 20 years) into its equation of expected remittance inflows, and likely investors of the Jamaican Diaspora Bonds, we suggest that now would be the time to do so.

At the core of this *Generational Shift* is the fact that the younger generation of the Jamaican Diaspora will not be morally or patriotically compelled to subscribe to certain notions held by earlier generations about Jamaican citizenship, remittances to family members, and other such duties and obligations for a variety of reasons. The majority of the Jamaican Diaspora will eventually be made up of the American, Canadian, and British born children of Jamaicans, who were born in Jamaica, and those children, even though they may likely have family members residing in Jamaica, will not necessarily feel compelled to send remittances to them. The government of Jamaica should therefore be proactive by implementing various policies which will compensate for the loss of that approximately 15 percent of GDP (remittances) which we estimate will significantly disappear over the next 15 to 20 years. We strongly believe that JELDIP will help to make many Jamaicans, who are now dependent on remittances, less dependent on that source of income, and even eventually be able to provide for themselves without the benefits of remittances.

REAL CHANGE FOR JAMAICA – DISCUSSION FORUM & WATCHDOG GROUP (“RCFJ”, A JAMAICAN DIASPORA GROUP)

Located on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/groups/RealChangeForJamaica/

Los Angeles, CA, USA ——- Email: Trevor@rcfj.org

Jamaica Equity Land Distribution & Improvement Programme (“JELDIP”)

Based on the foregoing, we propose JELDIP. At the core of JELDIP is the principle and belief that since the entire land and country called Jamaica, through obtaining its ‘Independence’ on August 6, 1962, was effectively the compensation (reparations) to the peoples of Africa, and other origins, who were unjustly removed from their original mother-lands and continent (Africa), and to the peoples who already inhabited Jamaica whose lives were also unjustly interrupted, and since based on existing international laws it appears there is no hope for any other forms of reparations from our Colonial Slave Masters, in order to expedite a comparable internal economic restitution program for their descendants (a known disadvantaged people), we propose that the government of Jamaica take into consideration the fact that the entire land and country called Jamaica is in fact owned by all Jamaicans, and as such, it should be equitably distributed on an *economic needs only basis* in a way which will create massive amounts of employments, businesses, and other economic opportunities through this proposed social and economic intervention policy which will accomplish and inure the following solutions and benefits to Jamaica and Jamaicans:

JELDIP Solutions & Benefits

1. The full implementation of JELDIP, and the related recommendations, will provide a minimum of US$1.355 billion or JA$116.556 billion in additional *Tax Revenues* annually for the government of Jamaica (based on US$1 to JA$86). That amount (US$1.355 billion) exceeds the existing US$1.27 billion IMF “27-Month Standby Agreement” which the government of Jamaica is yet to access based on IMF conditionalities.

2. Provide massive amounts of long-term sustainable regular employments and self-employments, businesses, and other economic opportunities for an estimated 560,000 Jamaicans. (We estimate that Jamaica’s current unemployment rate is hovering between 14 and 20 percent. Based on “STATIN,” the unemployment rate was 12.8 percent in July 2011). (Please view the video provided by using the link at Reference #11)

3. Significantly reduce Jamaica’s unemployment rate and simultaneously reduce poverty.

4. Utilize and transform, to the extent possible and feasible, to productive usages, all existing government owned farmable parcels of land which are currently sitting in a state of unproductiveness.


REAL CHANGE FOR JAMAICA – DISCUSSION FORUM & WATCHDOG GROUP (“RCFJ”, A JAMAICAN DIASPORA GROUP)

Located on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/groups/RealChangeForJamaica/

Los Angeles, CA, USA ——- Email: Trevor@rcfj.org

JELDIP Solutions & Benefits (Continued)

5. Allow massive amounts of new home ownerships, since the *newly propertied* Jamaican farmers could also reside on their farms. (Please review excerpts at Attachment #4)

6. Allow the government of Jamaica to re-examine its current *Property Tax Regime* and come to realize that the current tax regime is laughable and disgraceful, since, for decades now, it has allowed the super-rich land owners (local & foreign owned) to effectively rob Jamaica of billions of dollars by not paying equitable property taxes (when compared with other countries).

Jamaica’s *Property Tax Rates* are currently based on the “Unimproved Value” of land, not the “Improved Value” as is the case in many countries. Additionally, since it is estimated that a significant amount of parcels of land in Jamaica are not on the Register Book of Titles, we propose, as part of the implementation of JELDIP, that Jamaica revise its entire *Property Tax Regime* (based on current best practices of other CARICOM countries) by updating the Tax Roll by way of registering all parcels of land based on their “Improved Values” with minimal exemptions (mostly for pensioners), and assess reasonable tax rates to produce the equivalent of 10 percent of GDP.  (Please refer to Attachment #2).

There should be an adequate balance between the recurrent Property Tax Rate and the Property Transfer Tax Rate. The tax on property transfers should not be high as it cascades and affects the real estate market. The recurrent property tax provides a more stable flow of revenue to the Treasury.

7. Provide unprecedented economic benefits to Jamaica and Jamaicans by way of significantly revitalizing our *Agricultural Sector* and significantly reducing the amount of foods Jamaica currently import, thereby helping to alleviate Jamaica’s *Balance of Payment* (“BOP”) problem.

8. Increase Jamaica’s entire Tax Base (Property, Income, GCT Taxes, etc.), thereby providing significant amounts of *NEW* sources of revenues to Jamaica.

9. Allow Jamaica to significantly reduce its *National Debt*.


REAL CHANGE FOR JAMAICA – DISCUSSION FORUM & WATCHDOG GROUP (“RCFJ”, A JAMAICAN DIASPORA GROUP)

Located on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/groups/RealChangeForJamaica/

Los Angeles, CA, USA ——- Email: Trevor@rcfj.org

10. Help to provide unprecedented levels of annual economic growth, thereby significantly improving Jamaica’s GDP and its overall economy.

Recommendations and Proposed Terms & Conditions (“RPT&C”)

1. We strongly recommend that the parcels of land (“properties”) should be distributed to resident Jamaicans only, on an *economic needs only basis*. The economic needs and equitable acreage distribution formula should be determined based on elected representatives’ (MPs’) consensus.

2. In order to ensure that distribution of the properties is not politicized, we strongly recommend that an independent non-partisan Commission or Agency should be established, and said Commission or Agency, its Board of Directors and Executive Director should be constitutionally entrenched to administer the entire management and operations of JELDIP.

3. We strongly recommend that all recipients of such properties must be held responsible to work the land as a business enterprise, *primarily* for legal farming purposes, and must be registered as such for property, income, and GCT tax purposes.

4. While we recommend that there should be no required mortgage payments on the distributed properties (except as noted in RPT&C (6) below), and although said properties may be owned FREE and CLEAR by the recipients without any purchase payments (or by their legally designated beneficiaries) after 20 years have elapsed from the initial date of distribution (if all conditions are satisfied), we strongly recommend that the government of Jamaica should hold a 20-year lien on said properties, with strict performance requirements as to their farming usages, or other government approved business enterprise usages thereon. However, the recipients should be given the option to accelerate full ownership by purchasing the properties at their fair-market values, but only after working said properties, as agreed upon between them (the recipients) and the government of Jamaica, for a minimum of 10 years.

5. We recommend that all recipients of said properties should be allowed the option to reside on their land. (Please review excerpts at Attachment #4)

REAL CHANGE FOR JAMAICA – DISCUSSION FORUM & WATCHDOG GROUP (“RCFJ”, A JAMAICAN DIASPORA GROUP)

Located on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/groups/RealChangeForJamaica/

Los Angeles, California, USA ——- Email: Trevor@rcfj.org

Recommendations and Proposed Terms & Conditions (“RPT&C”) (Continued)

6. We recommend that the government of Jamaica, through the Ministry of Agriculture, should consider providing financial assistance to these new farmers by offering grants or subsidized loans (zero-interest loans secured by the land) to help them cover the costs of land preparation and agricultural goods/produce production.

7. In the spirit of patriotism and good corporate citizenship, we recommend that members of Corporate Jamaica should be approached and encouraged by the government of Jamaica to lend assistance to these new farmers by offering them mentoring programs, sponsorships, and assisting them with drafting their Business Plans, etc.

8. We recommend that tertiary educational institutions should be approached and encouraged by the government of Jamaica to lend assistance to these new farmers by helping them with drafting their Business Plans, and teaching them the basics of good record keeping (bookkeeping, etc.).

9. Remittances: Based on what we predict will eventually occur (as to the “Inevitable Jamaican Diaspora Generational Shift), we strongly recommend that the government of Jamaica be proactive in that regard by implementing various policies which will compensate for the eventual loss of approximately 15 percent contribution to GDP (Remittances) which we estimate will gradually disappear over the next 15 to 20 years. We believe that JELDIP will help to make many Jamaicans, who are now dependent on remittances, less dependent on that source of income, and even eventually be able to provide for themselves without the benefits of remittances.

According to the U.S Department of State, Jamaica’s GDP was estimated in 2010 to be US$13.69 billion (The CIA estimated Jamaica’s GDP at US$14.7 billion for 2011). According to Bank of Jamaica’s “Remittance Report January 2012,” remittance inflows were US$1.695 billion for the first 10 months of the 2011/12 fiscal year. If we annualize that remittance inflows for 10 months, and project them to a one-year period, the result is an annual remittance inflow of US$2.034 billion. If we used the estimated 2010 GDP to extrapolate what that annual remittance amount of US$2.034 billion represents as a percentage contribution to GDP (US$2.034B/US$13.69B), the result is 15 percent (rounded up). Therefore, our estimate of remittances contributing 15 percent to GDP appears reasonable. (Note: We used the 2010 GDP estimate to be conservative).

REAL CHANGE FOR JAMAICA – DISCUSSION FORUM & WATCHDOG GROUP (“RCFJ”, A JAMAICAN DIASPORA GROUP)

Located on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/groups/RealChangeForJamaica/

Los Angeles, CA, USA ——- Email: Trevor@rcfj.org

Recommendations and Proposed Terms & Conditions (“RPT&C”) (Continued)

10. Property Tax Revenues: As stated earlier, in 2003, *Property Tax Revenues* contributed over 3 ½ percent to GDP. However, by 2009, *Property Tax Revenues* contributed only 0.1 percent to GDP. We strongly recommend
that as part of the implementation of JELDIP, *Property Tax* be assessed, and compliance laws strictly and strongly enforced (including placing liens on, and selling properties for non-compliance), such that it contributes a minimum of 10 percent to GDP. If we used the estimated 2010 GDP to extrapolate the 0.1 percent which *Property Tax Revenues* contributed to GDP in 2009, the result is US$13.69 million (or JA$1.177 billion). However, if we used the estimated 2010 GDP to extrapolate and project *Property Tax Revenues* contributing 10 percent to GDP, the result is US$1.369 billion (or JA$117.734 billion). Clearly, the huge difference between the government collecting US$1.369 billion (or JA$117.734 billion), instead of US$13.69 million (or JA$1.177 billion), annually is readily visible, and such increase in *Property Tax Revenues* could be utilized to finance JELDIP, if necessary, over the proposed 20-Year-Government-Commitment period. That increase in Property Tax Revenues could also be used to help offset the expected decline in remittances in the next 15 to 20 years, as predicted herein.


REAL CHANGE FOR JAMAICA – DISCUSSION FORUM & WATCHDOG GROUP (“RCFJ”, A JAMAICAN DIASPORA GROUP)

Located on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/groups/RealChangeForJamaica/

Los Angeles, CA, USA ——- Email: Trevor@rcfj.org

Conclusion

Madam Prime Minister, we strongly believe that JELDIP, while not a panacea for solving all of Jamaica’s social and economic problems, if fully implemented, it will help Jamaica and Jamaicans in many substantial ways, and help to move Jamaica forward in a sustainable way. In our opinion, the government of Jamaica is under-utilizing and under-taxing the *original source of wealth* (LAND), and while it is borrowing from the IMF, it is yet to capitalize on possibly its most valuable asset (LAND), thereby making Jamaica less dependent on the IMF and other such sources of funds.

We are confident that the current government of Jamaica possesses the requisite *Political Will* to fully implement this proposed social and economic intervention policy. As such, we sincerely hope that JELDIP will be fully implemented as soon as feasibly possible.

Yours faithfully,

Trevor H. Francis, CLU, CPA, M.Sc.T (M.Sc. in U.S. Tax Laws/Tax Code)

Founder & President

RCFJ Forum & Watchdog Group, (a Jamaican Diaspora Group)

Page 27

ATTACHMENT #1

Source: PSWG Tax Reform Proposal for Jamaica, via Jamaica Gleaner, published March 15, 2012

Page 28

ATTACHMENT #2

Property Tax Revenues Contribution to GDP by CARICOM Countries

Source: From ‘Survey of the Caribbean Tax Systems’ by Paulos dos Santos and Laurel Bain. Paper presented to 18th COTA General Assembly, July 2004 (CARICOM Secretariat website), Source Link: http://www.caricom.org/jsp/community/cota/general_assembly/18cota-surveyontaxsystems.pdf)

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ATTACHMENT #3

Published: Friday, March 16, 2012

By: Alicia Dunkley, Observer Senior Reporter

‘A National Disgrace’ – Matalon Laments Low Property Tax Compliance

CHAIRMAN of the Private Sector Working Group (PSWG) Joseph Matalon has described as a “national disgrace” the low and declining rate of property tax compliance in Jamaica.

Matalon, in a more than three-hour-long submission to the Parliamentary Committee on Tax Reform at Gordon House in downtown Kingston Wednesday, said he was having trouble reconciling why property taxes have moved from contributing over 3.5 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2003 to just about 0.1 per cent of GDP in 2009.

“Different from the PAYE (Pay-As-You-Earn) system, the tax base is immovable; it cannot easily be hidden and therefore, that we should have a compliance rate in 2010 which amounts to under 50 per cent of the total liabilities for property tax collected is truly a national disgrace.

“Added to that is the lack of regular updates to the valuation rolls. The last valuation roll was completed in 2002, some 10 years ago, and it also serves to depreciate the value of the property tax revenues that we are generating even at full compliance,” Matalon told the group. “I think this lack of compliance, lack of updating the valuation base, leads to a higher level of regressivity in the tax system,” he added.

Source: Excerpts from Jamaica Observer, Friday, March 16, 2012, titled: “‘A National Disgrace’ – Matalon Laments Low Property Tax Compliance,” Source Link: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/-A-national-disgrace—-Matalon-laments-low-property-tax-compliance_11023903

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ATTACHMENT #4

Published: Sunday, March 25, 2012

By: Conrad Hamilton, Senior Staff Reporter

Email: hamiltonc@jamaicaobserver.com

“Nobody Should Live Like This!

St Ann Couple, Five Kids Exist In Dirt Poor Conditions”

Excerpts:

“TO the naked eyes, the structure sitting atop a hill overlooking the small farming community of Stepney in St Ann could easily pass as a derelict building, likely to crumble any minute. But for 31-year-old Hyacinth Lewis, her common-law husband, Jonah Johnson, and their five children, a small section of the rundown building, measuring less than the size of the average bathroom, serves as the family home.

The conditions in which they live are so destitute that they go to sleep at nights without the most basic of provisions — a bed.”

[A full view of the dilapidated building which Jonah Johnson, his common-law wife, Hyacinth, and their five children call home in Stepney, St Ann. (Photos: Garfield Robinson)]

“We haffi do something for them,” said Walford, even as some members of the visiting team held back tears while taking a closer look at the conditions under which the five children and two adults were living.”

Source: Excerpts from Jamaica Observer, Sunday, March 25, 2012, titled: “Nobody Should Live Like This! St Ann Couple, Five Kids Exist In Dirt Poor Conditions,” Source Link: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Nobody-should-live-like-this-_11112889

Page 31

ATTACHMENT #5

IDB Warns of Impact of Rising Food Prices on Region


[Source: Rising international food prices could trigger an acceleration of inflation in several countries in Latin America and the Caribbean this year. IDB article published in Washington, United States, on Monday May 2, 2011], Source Link: http://www.caribbean360.com/index.php/news/398285.html#axzz1qKLib5uG

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                                                                                                                                                  REFERENCES

  1. Private Sector Working Group (PSWG) Tax Reform Proposal for Jamaica
  2. U.S. Library of Congress: Source Link: (http://countrystudies.us/caribbean-islands/27.htm)
  3. Land Policy Administration and Management – A Jamaican Case Study (January 2003): Source Link: (http://www.terrainstitute.org/carib_workshop/pdf/jamaicaces.pdf)
  4. IDB Article Published in Washington, United States, on Monday May 2, 2011: Source Link: (http://www.caribbean360.com/index.php/news/398285.html#axzz1qKLib5uG)
  5. Bank of Jamaica, “The Balance of Payments, Remittance Report January 2012″
  6. U.S Department of State; Economy: GDP (2010 est.): US$13.69 billion.

Source Link: (http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/2032.htm)

7.   Jamaica Gleaner article titled: “Financing Local Gov’t Service,” Published: Friday, March 9, 2001

Excerpts: “According to Government data presented in the Minister of Local Government, Youth and Community Development, Arnold Bertram’s Green Paper entitled “Proposals for Financing the Improved Delivery of Local Services,“inflows from property taxes could not support the intended expenditure for public cleansing, street lighting and the protection of property for this fiscal year. As a result, an understanding has been reached with the Minister of Finance to continue the support for these services to the extent of the shortfall of the property taxes.

        Source Link: http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20010309/business/business5.html

8.  Jamaica Gleaner article titled: “Property Tax Increases” and Published: Wednesday, March 31, 2010.

“Finance Minister Audley Shaw has announced a whopping increase in property tax rates effective tomorrow.  The property tax increase will see the flat rate move from $600 to $1,000. The flat rate is applicable to property with unimproved value up to $300,000.  Rates in respect of property with unimproved values exceeding $300,000 will attract 0.75 per cent for every additional dollar, up from 0.5 per cent.  According to Gleaner calculations, a property valued at $1 million will now attract $6,250 in taxes, up from $4,100.

               A property valued at $10 million will now attract $73,750 in taxes, up from $49,100.

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REFERENCES (Continued)

“I have signed the order. It will be put in the Gazette tomorrow (today) and therefore, effective April 1, these new rates will apply,” Shaw told the Standing Finance Committee of Parliament.

               Important Source of Funding

Shaw said property taxes represent an important source of funding for local government activities. There is currently a 55 per cent compliance rate and the finance minister said that will have to change.

“We are sending the signal that we intend to take very strong steps and, in the Budget presentation, I intend to spend a significant amount of time on the area of tax compliance, both in respect of property taxes and other tax types,” Shaw said.

Property taxes are used for the collection and disposal of solid waste as well as paying for street lights and administrative costs of parish councils.

Property taxes were last adjusted in 2005, when Government did away with the previous value-band system.”

              Source Link: http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20100331/lead/lead4.html

9.    Jamaica Gleaner article titled: “Mayor Unhappy With Low Property Tax Compliance” and Published: Tuesday, October 18, 2011.

Excerpts:

“MAYOR OF Montego Bay, Charles Sinclair, says only 45 per cent of landowners in St James are compliant with their property tax payments.

“St James’ compliance rate in respect to property tax is 45 per cent; that situation doesn’t match up. We have to look on committing ourselves as a parish,” he said during the Rotary Club of Montego Bay East’s weekly meeting, at the Sunset Beach Resort in the Second City, last Thursday evening.

The mayor said property taxes are used by the parish council to go towards the maintenance of the city’s streetlights; collection of residential waste, and road repairs.

“The property tax goes first to central government. What happens to it there? The Jamaica Public Service and the National Solid Waste Management Authority are paid from the Department of Local Government,” he explained.

“There is also an amount that is kept, which goes to a fund called the Equalisation Fund. Ten percent, and that is what can be used if there is road rehabilitation that any council throughout Jamaica is seeking to do, and make an application to the Equalisation Fund for a significant sum of money to do road rehabilitation. Then it is from that fund that the amount can come.”

Page 34

REFERENCES (Continued)

 

Governance

He singled out several residential communities. Sinclair said Porto Bello has a compliance rate of 14 per cent, noting that only 106 lots out of the 750 are being paid for. He listed the percentage compliance rates for Westgate Hills at 32; Ironshore, 28; Coral Gardens, 42; Spring Farm Estate, 43; and Torado Heights, 34.

Meanwhile, Sinclair praised the parish council’s work in bringing governance closer to the citizens.

“I take a very simple view that the local authority is the government of the parish. Some persons don’t like to hear me say that … but it is, in fact, the unit of government within a parish, and it is that arm of government which brings governance closest to the people,” remarked the mayor.

“We have set about changing that nonchalant culture and seeking to rebuild the image of the local authority. What I would urge persons in our society is that they don’t divorce themselves from the process, but they should try and get themselves engaged, because civil society groups like yourselves are what will be the watchdogs of ourselves as politicians, and as administrators of the local authority, seeking to serve you as citizens and to serve society in which we live,” he told the Rotarians.”

Source Link: http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20111023/cleisure/cleisure4.html

10.   Jamaica Gleaner article titled: “Rethink Property Tax Regime In Reform Campaign” and Published: Sunday, October 23, 2011, Authored by: Dennis Morrison, Contributor & an Economist.

Excerpts:

“In the October 18 issue of this newspaper, the mayor of Montego Bay was reported to have told members of the Rotary Club in that city that only 45 per cent of property owners in St James were compliant with respect to property tax. Even though it is well-known that the compliance rate for property tax nationally has been unsatisfactory, this figure would have come as a surprise.

But what was shocking was the further revelation by the mayor that compliance rates in upscale neighbourhoods in the Montego Bay area, where the ‘haves’ live in luxurious dwellings, fall well below this level. And this is notwithstanding the fact that the valuations used for tax purposes are fractions of market values!

According to the mayor’s statistics, in Ironshore, Westgate Hills, and Torado Heights, compliance rates are only 28, 32, and 34 per cent, respectively. In other ‘topanaris’ residential communities like Coral Gardens and Spring Farm Estate, the rate is just over 40 per cent – all below the average for the parish. This essentially means that the less

Page 35

REFERENCES (Continued)

 well-off and the middle class of St James are more conscious of their duty as citizens and show more regard for the law, not what a certain stereotype would suggest.  But those of us from a ‘country’ background would not be too surprised, for we know that there are no more compliant and reliable citizens when it comes to paying land taxes than the humble, rural folk who generally live by the credo: ‘Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s’. To these people, security of tenure derives from proof of having paid their taxes, even in cases where the titles may not be in their names, or where titles may not exist.

Land Tax Off Limits?

The mayor’s entreaty to the Rotarians for greater compliance brings me to the matter of what appears to be the exclusion of land taxes from the tax-reform proposals being considered by Parliament. These proposals also seem to place the main emphasis on greater reliance on GCT as the primary means of tax collection, on the premise that this will widen the tax base. But if this is a key objective, why shouldn’t the reforms be broadened to include land taxes? Wouldn’t this be a way to address the issue that the widening of GCT coverage, even with a lowering of the rate, would shift the burden of taxation on to the people at the lower end of the economic ladder?

It is long overdue for Jamaica to enter the modern world where property taxes are based on improved-value basis rather than using unimproved value as currently obtains. In many developed and developing countries that have carried out tax reform in the last quarter-century, this has been a main element of such transformation. Obviously, legislation to facilitate more effective enforcement is an essential component of such reform (this is necessary in any case, and I understand is being seriously pursued).

Stricter enforcement of property taxes would have to be reinforced by tougher rules against squatting, since property owners should not be put under greater pressure to pay taxes when the system sometimes leaves them powerless to enforce property rights. The results of such reforms have generally been positive in other countries, simultaneously leading to significant increases in revenue, more even distribution of the burden of taxation, and improved local services to communities. Our local government system has failed partly because it is deprived of real resources required to provide these services.”

Source Link: http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20111023/cleisure/cleisure4.htmlThe

11.  The Power of a Community: How Cuba Used Farming to Survive the Peak Oil Crisis (Slovenski Podnapisi) Video Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=tgqn3bTekFA#!

Page 36

3 Responses to ““JELDIP” is a Social & Economic Intervention Policy Proposal for Jamaica – Dated March 26, 2012”

  1. call conversation November 28, 2012 at 9:11 pm #

    You are so cool! I do not believe I’ve read anything like that before. So nice to discover somebody with some original thoughts on this topic. Really.. thank you for starting this up. This web site is one thing that is required on the web, someone with a little originality!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Letter: Real change for Jamaica « - November 9, 2012

    […] Link to the full JELDIP proposal […]

  2. Letter: Real change for Jamaica | The Washington Panafrican - November 9, 2012

    […] Link to the full JELDIP proposal […]

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