Land-Use and Roles and Responsibility Training for Local Authorities

Ministry of Communities, Department of Housing, Georgetown Guyana, November 7, 2019. Local authority representatives in the Pomeroon-Supenaam Region recently participated in a training programme on land-use planning and the roles and responsibilities of local authorities. The training exercise was held on Monday, November 4.

The programme which was held in the boardroom of the Regional Democratic Council was facilitated by the Planning Department within the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA); which is the agency with full statutory powers to make decisions on matters of land use.

The training sessions are aimed at building capacity within local authority organs for them to effectively discharge their functions.

The training covered several areas among them: Planning Permission Process; Management of Government of Guyana Housing Schemes; Squatter Regularization/Relocation; Types of Planning Applications; Contravention and Enforcement Issues and Criteria for Assessment of Planning Application.

Denise King-Tudor, Operations Director of the CH&PA who is performing the function of Chief Executive Officer told the participants, “Land use planning is vital since it is an integral part of the process of national growth and development. It is also necessary for a structured and coordinated approach to making decisions on future developments at all levels of Government. This includes zoning, issues of traffic and transport while providing an objective basis to resolve land-use conflicts among other issues.”

Land-use planning takes into account two functions Development Planning and Development Control. The Planning Control function is aimed at managing and regulating property development. This is to ensure that all development takes place at an appropriate time and place which confirms to a pre-determined set of policies, standards or regulations.

According to Kind-Tudor, the purpose of development control is not designed to stop development or make life difficult for developers or homeowners. Instead, the main purpose is to ensure that there is orderly, rational and progressive development of land to create sustainable human settlements that accommodate a variety of land uses to meet the needs of the people who live in those settlements.

For the CH&PA to make sound decisions, then it must coordinate with several other regulatory agencies among them the Environmental Protection Agency; the Guyana Fire Service; National Trust; Central Board of Health; Ministry of Public Infrastructure; Guyana Forestry Commission and the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority.

Monday’s training programme concludes a year of Regional outreaches. However, this is not the end of the sensitisation programme. Next year the agency will be targeting new municipalities and Neighbourhood Democratic Councils in sensitisation workshops on Land-Use and their roles and responsibilities.