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….at swearing in ceremony of Mayors, Deputy Mayors
By Svetlana Marshall
President Irfaan Ali, on Friday, said his Government will be moving to establish a Single Window Approval System in conjunction with the country’s Town Councils to accelerate the pace in which building permits are approved.
Further, in keeping with its transformative agenda, the Ali Administration will be moving to modernise building laws, regulations and codes that act as a hindrance to the country’s development.
President Ali made the announcements on during a simple swearing-in ceremony of the country’s ten Mayors, and their Deputies at the Office of the President.
He said Central Government is cognisant of the transformative changes that are unfolding on the ground particularly in the capital city – Georgetown – and the need for systems to be advanced. Of particular concern, he said, is the length of time taken by some Councils to approve building permits. According to him, some approvals take years.
As such, he said there is need for the establishment of a Single Window Approval System in keeping with international best practices.
“So very shortly we will be engaging you on the modernization of institutional infrastructure, the legislative infrastructure to establish the single window approval system where building permits is concerned,” the President told the Mayors and their Deputies.
Under the current system, building permits are approved based on the Municipal and District Council Act 28:01, and in the case of the city, the Georgetown Building By-Laws, which state that: “No person shall erect a new building or alter or add to any existing building or execute any structural works to any building unless he shall layover with such notice a plan of the new building or of the alteration or addition to the existing building or of the structural work for approval by the City Engineers.”
If a building is intended for commercial purpose, clearance is also required from Central Housing and Planning Authority.
President Ali said while building designs have advanced over the years, the laws and regulations have not.
“The laws remain constant, the regulations remain constant, the building codes remain constant, and these are some of the things that Central Government will be working on with you, so that we can bring the laws, the regulations and the codes up to speed with the change dynamics that exist, and that will be a critical part of the work moving forward,” President Ali said.
He submitted that the proposed steps would increase competitiveness and improve the ease of business status.
“Sometimes, in the eyes of the population, they see us as barriers to development as causing hindrances, clearly unnecessary bureaucracy and red tapes [but] that is not what we are here to do,” he said.
President Ali noted too that it is Central Government’s intention to work closely Local Government to improve the lives of Guyanese.
“It is our intention at the level of Central Government to work closely with the Town Councils and the NDCs to enhance governance, improve efficiency, transparency, and reliability of service. And it is for this reason that you will see enhanced engagements from the level of Central Government with the municipalities, town councils, and of course NDCs,” he said as he urged support for the Government’s macro-economic agenda.
The Mayors who took the oath of office on Friday included: Chris Phang (Mabaruma), Rajendra Lall Prabhulall (Anna Regina), Ubraj Narine (Georgetown), Winifred Heywood (New Amsterdam), Dave Budhu (Rose Hall), Winston Roberts (Corriverton), Gifford Marshall (Bartica), David Adams (Mahdia), John Macedo (Lethem) and Waneka Arrindell (Linden).
Carolyn Robinson (Mabaruma), Lorna Fitzallen (Anna Regina), Alfred Munroe (Georgetown), Wainwright Mc Intosh (New Amsterdam), Roydel Lewis (Rose Hall), Imran Amin (Corriverton), Arita Embleton (Bartica), Juewayne Mendonca-Burrowes (Mahdia), Debra King (Lethem) and Wainwright Bethune (Linden) were the Deputy Mayors sworn in on Friday.