The Government of Grenada is moving aggressively to improve physical planning operations in the country.
Prime Minister and Minister for Finance and Planning, Dr the Right Honourable Keith Mitchell, has stated that planning is a critical part of the country’s development and it must be treated more seriously than it currently is.
At a meeting Thursday with top officials associated with physical planning, Dr Mitchell said, “I am very concerned about the level of ad hoc and arbitrary building that is becoming prevalent across the country. Government will be moving quickly to examine the whole structure and make drastic changes. We must protect the integrity of our development process before it causes irreparable damage to our country.”
Dr Mitchell underscored the importance of achieving greater compliance with planning policies, regulations and notices. He said, “We must act quickly to provide more enforcement power with respect to physical planning. It is not acceptable that a stop notice is given and the contractor and/or owner simply ignores this and continues building. That amounts to lawlessness; people cannot be ignoring the laws of the land.”
The Minister of Finance and Planning also cited discrepancies in the approval times and the historic stigma of corruption that has been attached to the Physical Planning Unit and the Planning Authority.
Dr Mitchell said, “It has been brought to my attention that some persons seeking permission to build wait several months for approval while other applications seem to be fast-tracked through the system. This is not right or fair. There must be equity in the approval process. Relatedly, we must also move quickly to change the historic perception that there is corruption in Grenada’s physical planning process. We must have suitably qualified persons to undertake the work and they must operate within the ambit of the law and must be held accountable for their actions.”
Dr Mitchell acknowledged the improvements made with respect to addressing the backlog of applications but he stressed the need to continue finding ways to improve the overall planning function.
One of the imminent changes will be the establishment of a Physical Planning and Development Control Authority with responsibility for overseeing all planning and development matters, including environmental protection.
Office of the Prime Minister
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