Members of Parliament have commended the current administration for taking the Green Paper on Town and Country Planning to the people of Barbados, stating that “local knowledge” is an important element in any construction project, especially in environmentally sensitive areas.
MP for St Thomas Cynthia Forde lamented that people who had lived in certain areas all their lives and faced challenges with construction ,were often ignored “because we did not think they were educated enough to share their opinions with “experts”.”
She said Barbados tended to throw away the old to bring in the new and this did not work well. She pointed to unprecedented levels of flooding, saying, older generations knew to plant sugar cane and other crops to help alleviate some of those problems. Forde also mentioned the Scotland District, saying it was important that any building construction taking place there should make it less susceptible to land slippage.
Both Forde and MP for St Michael South, Kirk Humphrey, acknowledged that lapses in planning legislation had resulted in natural watercourses becoming blocked, a significant factor in recent floods after the passage of Tropical Storm Kirk three weeks ago, as well as the flooding Trinidad and Tobago experienced last week.
Forde, who is also Minister of Elder Affairs and People Empowerment, recommended that gullies, watercourses and caves be used as nature trails rather than illegal dumping sites. She also advocated the allocation of a few acres of land outside the Zone One area for mechanics specifically to use for their derelict vehicles. Still on the subject of road congestion, Forde suggested that high rise buildings such as hotels and office blocks should have underground parking facilities as a matter of course.
The veteran MP, as well as newcomers Charles Griffith from St John, St Michael West Central MP Ian Gooding-Edghill, and St Philip North representative Dr Sonia Browne all called for more “recreational spaces” in housing developments and the use of some of the land lying idle around their constituencies for agricultural purposes.