This article reviews the development of Land Settlement in a Jamaican sugar belt area. It traces the evolution of the implementation process during the project's formative years (1980‐81) and the outcome in later years. The article argues that the project's operation and institutional framework was shaped through the inter‐relationship between its administrative‐managerial sub‐systems. Three major characteristics of the administrative‐managerial system were identified: symmetry, latency and adaptation. Symmetry expresses the need for simultaneous implementation of the project's production and infrastructural components; latency exposes the ‘politics’ behind the implementation process and the conflict over the project's resources and benefits; and adaptation reflects the settlers' response to the slow implementation pace. The weak vertical integration within the administrative‐managerial system and the change of government in Jamaica were the main constraints on the achievement of the project's objectives and the reason for its transformation from co‐operative to village.