Prime Minister Mia Mottley has announced that there will be changes coming to the five-decades-old Town and Country Planning Act that could impact on how land development is done in Barbados.
While not providing details, Mottley told the annual general meeting of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre on Wednesday that her administration was keen on working on “the investments that are critical for growth”.
In this regard, the Prime Minister said she had met for approximately four hours on Tuesday with officials in the Town and Country Planning Department, adding that Barbadians will have the opportunity to have their say on any proposed changes.
“We are putting ourselves in a position to have public consultations starting from June 27 going to July 29, to be able to reframe the policy that is necessary to renew a piece of legislation that was passed in the year that I was born, 1965,” Mottley said.
Among other things, the Act makes provision for the “orderly and progressive development of land in both urban and rural areas and to preserve and improve the amenities thereof”.
The Prime Minister also announced that the Barbados Tourism Investment Inc. (BTII) would be required to play a more critical role in development projects, adding that ”new Government arrangements of the board will be in place for that”.
She said subject to Cabinet’s approval, General Manager of Atlantis Submarines and immediate past chairperson of the BHTA Roseanne Myers would be appointed chairman of that new BTII board who would “help make sure that the institutional arrangements and the knowledge that is necessary for that seamless work between BTII and the genuine tourism sector can take place”.
“I share these things with you because it is important that you do understand that my Government is serious about turning this country and turning this sector around,” Mottley said, adding “we can do it. We shall do it”.
Mottley also promised legislation to accommodate the proposed August 1 implementation of a ten per cent tax on the shared economy announced in her June 11 mini Budget.
“Like other countries in the world Barbados’ sovereign right to tax will be respected,” she said, while indicating that legislation would go before Parliament soon.
“We have some gaps too, let’s not fool ourselves. Barbados needs an appropriate legislative framework to deal with fractional ownership. We keep talking about it but we don’t have it. We have a decade of lost development in tourism in every respect and the Minister [Kerrie Symmonds] is very clear on what his responsibility is,” she assured.
The Prime Minister also revealed that she has been getting favourable feedback from investors on her Budget presentation.
“The confidence that we are getting from the international community from both investors and indeed from institutions, have been heartwarming since taking the decisions that we had to take. They feel that Barbados is yet again now a serious country with a similar purpose,” Mottley said.