OCHO RIOS – Secretary/Manager at the St. Ann Parish Council, Clinton Gordon says the Council and the Local Planning Authority are working assiduously to ensure that the Planning and Building Acts are maintained in the parish.
"The Council and the Local Planning Authority have a responsibility to ensure that all things are done in proper order; that the Building and Planning Acts are maintained for the good of the parish and also that each person within the parish can enjoy his or her property, without being infringed by others," Mr. Gordon said.
He told JIS News that the Council has been putting persons before the St. Ann Resident Magistrate's Court since January 2010, to answer charges of breaching the Building Act.
"At present we have 10 cases before the court. Some have been tried and some will be carried over into the month of April when the dates for trial will be set. These cases range from persons who have been building without permission to persons whose building is infringing on other persons’ rights to persons who are doing developments without approval," Mr. Gordon informed.
He explained that the Council is not creating problems for anyone in the parish, but that they are taking the necessary steps to get persons to operate within the law.
"We do not just take persons to court for these offences. Once we observe a breach, persons are told to discontinue that breach and if they refuse to do so after we talk to them, then they are given a stop order and if they persist even after receiving the stop order, that is when court action is taken," Mr. Gordon said, noting that the actions of the court could prove severe.
He is urging persons to seek the intervention of the Parish Council and the Local Planning Authority, so that they can be advised as to the correct guidelines and the necessary steps to take in carrying out their building plans.
"Come in and talk with us; let us see what you are doing, so that we can advise you on the best way to do it, so that you are safe, your family is safe and you are not in breach of the law," he concluded.
By ALDEEN CAMPBELL