The Physical Planning and Development Board is an independent body as established under the Town and Country Planning Act.
So when people say that it is politicians who shut down ‘Chill Spot, owned by Garth ‘Lance’ Oliver at Arnos Vale, there are 15 members, 12 of whom are office holders and three that is appointed by Cabinet.
So said Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves during a press briefing on Thursday.
He explained that the 12 members include the Director of Planning, the Manager of National Properties, the Chief Engineer, Chief Agricultural Officer, Chief Surveyor, Chief Environmental Officer, Head of the Housing and Land Development Corporation, General Managers of the Central Water and Sewerage Authority (CWSA) and VINLEC, the Commissioner of Police, Warden of the Kingstown Town Board and the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry responsible for Planning.
And for the three appointed by Cabinet, the Chairman, and Deputy, one of these appointees is a former head of physical planning; “Adam Nelson who is a splendid professional, I don’t think anyone can say that he has any political axe to grind with anyone.”
According to the prime minister, he had heard the discussions on the radio, but while he said that he does not have the time to listen in to talk shows, he is advised by people whose job it is to listen in and report to him.
“But as far as I know, no journalist, no talk show host has taken the planning Act to see who are the people on this board,” Gonsalves said.
He said that he was not “throwing the board under the bus,” but wanted to give an overview of how the action is taken.
“We are a young democracy and people must look at the issues in a factual manner and look at the institutions and how they function.”
“We don’t have a dictatorship in this country, we have laws under which people function, and there is a Town and Planning Act and there is a Physical Planning Board,” he said.