The Chairman of Saint Lucia’s Development Control Authority (DCA), Ignatius Jean, has explained that although people believe the body is trying to impede development, it is not.
Jean spoke during the Government Information Service (GIS) programme ‘Issues and Answers’ following Sunday’s devastating floods that wreaked havoc in the North of the Island.
He explained to host Calixte George Jr. that people can be very indisciplined.
“People like to take the law into their own hands and do not like to follow regulations,” the former Castries North MP observed.
But he asserted that rather than attempting to impede development, the DCA played a protective role.
“What we are trying to do is protect many of us from ourselves and protect others from the actions of those who do not care, and that’s what we are trying to regulate,” Jean told ‘Issues and Answers’.
The Minister for Physical Development, Housing, and Environment in a previous Saint Lucia Labour Party government pointed out that there were obvious reasons for setbacks.
In this regard, Jean mentioned public complaints over some parts of rivers not being desilted.
Nevertheless, the DCA Chairman noted that people ignore the setbacks.
“Where would the heavy equipment be able to navigate or traverse to get into the river bed or the other equipment you need to do the excavation, to do the clearing?” Jean said.
The DCA Chairman also pointed to the impact of indiscriminate garbage disposal.
He recalled that during the heavy rainfall on Sunday, items like stoves and washing machines were being swept away in the waterways.
“Then they become trapped under the culverts or bridges and what do you have? People’s home are flooded. Businesses are flooded – it impacts everyone. A business is ruined so they may have to send people home,” Jean observed.
“These are the types of real challenges with our officers getting out there and having to serve stop notices on citizens saying, ‘Well, you didn’t have permission to do this, so you are going to have to come in and address it. You are going to have to put in the proper design or you have to stop it completely,” the DCA Chairman said.
Nevertheless, he revealed that some people pay no heed, and by the time the matter goes before the court, a structure is up.
“And then we have problems,” Jean stated.