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Municipal Corporations’ Building Units to be boosted

The capacity of the building units inside the Municipal Corporations will be increased with additional officers to strengthen the enforcement of building approval procedures.

According to Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Honourable Desmond McKenzie, the move is timely given the surge in construction projects- both at the commercial and residential levels- across the country.

“We are increasing the number of building officers to strengthen the ability of the local authority to respond effectively. With the current staffing levels, it is impossible to monitor developments across the country adequately,” he said.

“I am giving notice that the local authorities will not sit back and allow illegal construction to take place and then persons turn around and be critical, even suggesting that they are taking bribes in order to facilitate illegal construction.”

The Minister stressed that the current trend to disregard building approval procedures is worrying. He also noted that some established developers move away from approved building plans during construction.

“They put up dry wall partitions and they use all sorts of methods to bypass the approval process.”

Minister McKenzie, who was speaking at a retirement function hosted by the St. Ann Municipal Corporation on November 12, also announced the establishment of a committee to evaluate and provide recommendations on the Government’s response to building violations post-approval.

The committee will comprise private-sector individuals and experts in the building industry.

He charged that there is need for collective responsibility despite the local authorities being the sole legitimate entities for granting building approvals.

“The role and emphasis on proper building observation and persons (adhering) to approvals are not just the responsibility of the local authorities by themselves.”