CH&PA hosts planning forum to address critical planning deficiencies; squatting still a major hurdle
By Stacy Carmichael-James
The Central Housing and Planning Authority this morning opened its two-day National Planning Forum with one of its objectives being to evaluate and consolidate inter-agency coordination and collaboration efforts relevant to local spatial planning and development.
The forum is being held under the theme, “Consolidating Stakeholder collaboration in supporting the mandate of the Central Housing and Planning Authority.”
Minister with responsibility for Housing, Valerie Patterson who delivered the feature address in re-emphasizing the need for proper planning, said it seeks “to identify, articulate and satisfy the basic social human needs of a country’s population and that, she noted is done within the context of available finances and technical knowledge.”
“People have needs that must be satisfied and a sound approach to meeting such needs imply the need for planning, for instance, they housing, they need jobs, education, opportunities for recreation, transport and basic services like water, electricity, healthcare. Social planning policies attempt to take care of the basic social needs of the country’s population,” she highlighted.
It was further noted that economic planning and policies are intended to ensure that the country has a sound economic base which provides revenue for the financing of Government’s operations while ensuring that jobs are available to the country’s labour force.
She expressed hope that in the future, the Guyana Water Inc. and the Guyana Power and Light would be able to take up the responsibility of providing water and electricity in new housing schemes since that burden currently falls under the ambit of the CH&PA.
Minister Patterson admitted that the current state of planning in Guyana is not at the desired level when compared with the other developing countries and attributed this to several challenges, including lack of understanding of what planning entails, lack of capacity at the local level and overlapping functions of regulatory agencies.
Squatting was once again raised as one of the most challenging hurdles for CH&PA and according to the minister, those areas cannot be regulated in their current states, citing the need for relocation for some areas.
“Therefore planning is pivotal in pursuing orderly and sustained growth and development…when people annex portions of land, planning is absent they give no thought about ingress and egress, they don’t cater for proper disposal of waste and if there is a body of water nearby then they utilize that …not for drinking…if you are familiar with pit latrine, then you know what I’m talking about and that creates an environment that can give rise to diseases and unwholesome living,” Minister Patterson noted.
At the end of the workshop, it is expected that an agreed Action Plan to support the coordinative and collaborative requirements of the work of the CH&PA would be developed, among other things.