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New agency to replace Town and Country Planning
The Town and Country Planning Division is to be replaced with a National Planning Authority (NPA) in one year. In making the announcement yesterday, Rodney Ramlogan director, local area and regional planning, Ministry of Local Government, said staff will be retained and more will be hired.
He explained: “What will happen is that the NPA takes over from the Town and Country Planning Division. We have staff that exists in the system and the intention is not to release any of the staff—unless they wish to go—its to absorb all of the staff into the new arrangement.” Ramlogan spoke with the T&T Guardian yesterday during the coffee break at the opening of the Caribbean Leadership Symposium on Local Economic Development at Capital Plaza, Port-of-Spain.
Asked to further explain how the NPA will operate, Ramlogan said: “All I can do is draw your attention to the Planning and Facilitation of Development Bill, 2013 which is on the Parliamentary website. The bill is ready for debate. It is lodged already in Parliament and it will have its second reading very soon. The intention is for it to start in the Upper House.” He said the legislatiobn will replace the Town and Country Planning Act Chapter 35:01.
“That is where we are getting the powers from, it is from that bill when it becomes an Act. Powers will be devolved to the municipal corporations to do physical planning at the local level, in law,. Right now it is different. Rght now it is not like that.” Although he admitted that the deadline is ambitious, Ramlogan is hopeful the entire bill will be passed by Parliament.
“Between passage and proclamation (of the bill) there might be the possibility of proclaiming parts of the bill but we’ll prefer to go with the whole, because there is a relationship between the municipal planning authorities and the national planning authorities. You can’t have the municipal planning authorities operating without the staff at the national planning authority,” he said.
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