REALTORS® Association of Jamaica: Celebrating History and Envisioning the Future

68 students attended the CIPS Institute in Kingston, Jamaica

68 students attended the CIPS Institute in Kingston, Jamaica

During the week of June 6, 2016, The Realtors® Association of Jamaica (RAJ) celebrated their 50th Anniversary. Led by President Edwin Wint, the RAJ is a bi-lateral partner of NAR with over 900 members – all of which are licensed from the Real Estate Board (regulatory board for the real estate industry in Jamaica). Representatives from NAR included Carla Rayman, NAR Regional Coordinator; David McCoy, NAR President’s Liaison to Jamaica; Hanne Sagalowsky, NAR Global Real Estate Liaison and Carol Kairis, Managing Director at NAR Global.

Over the course of three days, not only did it become clear that RAJ is the voice for real estate on the island, but that their voice is being heard loud and clear! Coming off of the heels of a victory with the Tax Administration Jamaica, RAJ was extremely pleased with the outcome – that the tax obligations to brokers and agents is based on a Contract for Services relationship vs. Employer/Employee. Next on their list is the Transfer Tax rate on the sale of real estate. Currently the burden falls on both the seller and the buyer to the tune of almost 10%. Keynote speaker Dr. Horace Chang, Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, spoke about the government’s commitment to reducing the stamp duties and transfer taxes on land transactions. He also spoke about longer term mortgages, effective building technology and more public-private partnerships. RAJ members see this as a potential boost in the housing market. Senator Aubyn Hill also had encouraging words for the audience. He vowed to be RAJ’s partner and encouraged them to come together with their 50-year history of professionalism and their collective voice for real estate, and to keep up the great work they’ve been doing on the real estate front.

The afternoon Annual General Meeting also had a full agenda – from the induction of a Life Member, to new affiliate partnership announcements, to the election of the new board members and greetings from NAR. The meeting adjourned with a “Vote of Thanks”. Wouldn’t it be great to end all of our meeting with that kind of special message!

And that’s not all. On the following day, the leaders of RAJ and the NAR travelers had a private meeting with the Prime Minister, The Most Honourable Mr. Andrew Holness who was elected on February 25, 2016. President Wint led the conversation, and RAJ’s vision for the future of real estate was heard. The Prime Minister welcomed the comments and suggestions for future growth and was pleasantly surprised to hear of the 50-year history of the RAJ. Following this visit, we visited with the Leader of the Opposition, Honourable Portia Simpson Miller. Then for some fun, we took a great trip on a brand new highway to visit the beautiful beaches on the northern side of the island.

What’s next you might ask? NAR and RAJ are extremely pleased about their first-ever CIPS Institute that was being held on June 13-17 in Kingston. 68 students answered the call and registered for the full institute. Past President Howard Johnson couldn’t have been more pleased. With only 5 current CIPS designees in all of Jamaica, he looks forward to welcoming up to 68 more and hopes that the majority of the students will travel to Orlando this fall to get their CIPS pin. So if you run in to our Jamaica REALTOR® friends at the REALTORS® Conference & Expo this November, please give them a very warm welcome – as they gave us in their home country.

By Carol Kairis, AHWD, CIPS, e-PRO, RCE, RSPS, SRES