The recent emotional outburst by Mark Maloney in an interview with Barbados TODAY, after Town & Country Planning knocked down the Preconco hut at Lears Roundabout, betrayed the level of anger and frustration that had been burning inside.
To listen to the prominent developer talk about Chief Town Planner Mark Cummins was to catch a chilling glimpse of what the senior public servant would endure if only Mr Maloney could get his proverbial hands on him.
If nothing else, Mr Maloney would surely purge Mr Cummins at a stroke, confining the Chief Town Planner to a lifetime of mental experiments to try to find out what’s in his head.
The contempt was palpable, and Mr Cummins could not have attracted greater odium had he devoted all his time to being the law unto himself which Mr Maloney accused him of being, with the possible exception of sacrificing firstborn children. In the bitter battle of Mark vs Mark, Mr Maloney wants Mark out of a job and out of his life.
However, Mr Maloney’s searing rage aside –– along with the subsequent grandstanding by some of his acolytes –– there is a deeper issue at stake here; an issue that must be dissected and resolved once and for all.
Let us stress upfront that we will never endorse, encourage or support anyone breaking the law. And Mr Maloney or anyone else, for that matter, should not be allowed to flout the law as though Barbados is their private backyard.
In fact, we agree wholeheartedly with Prime Minister Freundel Stuart who, in discussing the issue with the media recently –– although not addressing it directly –– made it clear this was a country that subscribed to the rule of law, “not to the rule of fancy and personal preference”, and that a clear message must be sent that “the development of Barbados has to be ordered development and we can only have ordered development if people comply with instructions of the Chief Town Planner”.
Still, Mr Maloney has a point when he complained about the length of time it has taken Town & Country Planning to respond to applications for major projects.
Already entwined in a fight over a structure for Rock Hard Cement just off Spring Garden Highway, Mr Maloney accused Mr Cummins of seeking to jeopardize his Coverley, Christ Church project by refusing to issue any more compliance certificates — effectively barring him from selling any more houses there.
Preconco’s assistant financial controller Kirk Smith would later explain that several projects for which Mr Maloney was yet to receive permission were in jeopardy because he had yet to hear from Town & Country Planning despite submitting applications and the relevant documents months ago.
Substitute Maloney with any other name and the issue is the same. The wheels of business turn much too slowly here.
Mr Maloney’s frustration was echoed by none other than Minister of Commerce and Small Business Development Donville Inniss, who, not for the first time, complained about the difficulty in doing business here.
Commenting on the public tussle between the two Marks, while staying clear of the legal tussle, Mr Inniss even hinted that he was prepared to quit the Government if things did not improve. By taking this stand, the minister
has put himself at odds with Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, exposing schisms in the Cabinet. Clearly, Mr Inniss and his boss are not on the same page on this, and it is left to be seen whether the minister will keep his word.
Of course, the pace with which Mr Cummins moves is symptomatic of how Mr Stuart himself has run the Government –– very slow. It may not be by accident that he and the town planner are in the same ministry.
This cannot be allowed to continue. Surely, better can be done in facilitating business and speeding up the process, while ensuring due diligence is done.
Mr Stuart himself has recognized this and recently designated Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Senator Darcy Boyce as the minister to deal with business facilitation.
It’s time for Senator Boyce to get down to work and clear the clogs that hinder progress before the malcontents such as Mr Maloney rebel.