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THE TRAFALGAR COUNCIL

C/o Unity of Jamaica


87 Old Hope Road,
Kingston 6
Email: trafalgarcouncil@yahoo.com
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NEWS RELEASE
NOT NEPA ALONE: A SPECIAL
INVESTIGATION NEEDED
Sunday, December 19 2010: The Trafalgar Council is calling on Prime Minister Bruce Golding,
in his capacity as the portfolio Minister with responsibility for Planning and Development, to
commission a Special Investigation into the development approvals process in Jamaica which
based on the lassitude and negligence of the Jamaican planning authorities has legitimately
caused the island to be dubbed “a Violators Dream”. The call comes on the heels of a report from
the Auditor General’s department with respect to the National Environment and Planning
Agency (NEPA) which highlights the ad hoc approach to development and the wanton disregard
for the planning laws of Jamaica exhibited by this entity. Whereas this vindicates the Trafalgar
Council’s long held positions on Jamaica’s development approvals process, to merely focus
attention on NEPA at this juncture will be sub-optimal at best, as the development approvals and
monitoring operations of the parish councils and the KSAC in particular, are similarly inimical to
the sustainable development of Jamaica.

According to the Auditor General’s report, NEPA has only three (3) monitoring and enforcement
officers assigned to Kingston and St Andrew. This has led to a scenario, according to the Auditor
General, whereby a single officer has been assigned to monitor 193 developments and that such
monitoring occurs for only two (2) days out of a five day work week. The Auditor General
equally states that “although NEPA has prioritized the monitoring of developments that present a
serious threat to the Jamaican environment only 28 percent are monitored”. When this is
juxtaposed against the 90 day development approvals mechanism currently in place, NEPA’s
actions can only be deemed reckless as it constitutes the willful breaching of its statutory
obligations while pandering to the whims of a myopic few. In a similar vein, with only six (6)
building officers at the KSAC, Mayor Desmond McKenzie earlier in 2010 indicated that there
has been a growing trend of illegal developments in Kingston and St Andrew with approximately
60 per cent in breach of the city's building codes.

PRESERVING OUR COMMUNITY…ONE HOME AT A TIME


NOT NEPA ALONE: A SPECIAL INVESTIGATION NEEDED ctd.

In that regard, Convenor of the Trafalgar Council, Joseph Cox opines,” It remains unclear as to
whether NEPA’s actions are reflective of cognitive dissonance, duplicity or just sheer
incompetence. Whatever the designation it is abundantly clear that there needs to be a Special
Investigation into the development approvals processes in Jamaica”. The Trafalgar Council had
indicated from as far back as 2008 that most of the new construction activity occurring in
Seymour Lands (Golden Triangle) and the residential sections of New Kingston were in breach
of the Jamaica’s Planning and Development guidelines. Other communities such as Richmond
Park, Havendale, Beverly Hills, and Barbican are similarly afflicted with the concerns of the
citizenry in large part being rebuffed while the illegal developments continue to thrive. “New
developments are approved with no additional provisions for water, densities are increased with
no reference to the communities and set back ratios (distance between perimeter walls and the
building) adjusted to the points where there are now serious public safety issues and the entire
situation is at a point where it can no longer be tolerated and therefore justifies the need for a
Special Investigation as a matter of urgency” says Cox.

-END-

PRESERVING OUR COMMUNITY…ONE HOME AT A TIME