JIS News

Minister of Land and Environment, Dean Peart has indicated that he would be seeking Cabinet’s approval for the establishment of a special unit that would be responsible for the development projects now underway in the tourism, industrial, commercial and housing sectors.
The proposal, Mr. Peart said, was for the unit to be located at the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), and must be appropriately staffed to deal with these large projects.
The Minister, who was making his contribution to the 2005/06 Sectoral Debate in Gordon House on June 21, said that the large number of mega-developments now underway, were challenging the capacity of the NEPA to effectively deal with them.
Among these are the Harmony Cove and White Bay Resort projects in Trelawny; Palmyra in Rose Hall, St James; the Iberostar and Riu hotel projects in St Ann; expansion of the Jamalco alumina plant in Clarendon; construction of the liquid natural gas plant in St Catherine and numerous other housing, tourism and commercial ventures.
He noted that these projects had the potential to lead to unprecedented economic growth and spur employment but they could only be feasible and profitable for investors and the country on the whole, if the environment in which they will co-exist was not destroyed in the process.
Meanwhile, he indicated that the Ministry would continue to rationalize the development planning and approvals process this fiscal year, through the preparation of an Environment and Planning Act, in addition to redefining the roles of the Town and Country Planning Authority, the Land and Environment Ministry and the parish councils.
He informed that assistance was being sought from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in this effort.
Part of the process, he said, was the preparation and implementation of a framework for “greater integration planning for water resources and disaster preparedness and mitigation,” for which plans were advanced.
Additionally, the Ministry, through the NEPA, will be embarking on a review of the Department Order preparation process to prioritise and undertake the preparation of new orders where the greatest need exists, in terms of the government’s physical development policies and priorities.

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