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General law as a guide to action

beadottin, beadottin@nationnews.com

Added 07 February 2013

Sections 11 and 12 of the Interpretation Act Cap 1 of the Laws of Barbados state “every provision of an enactment shall have effect as a substantive enactment without introductory words; and the preamble to an enactment shall be construed as a part thereof intended to assist in explaining the purport and object of the enactment.” Such purport and object become the definition of the principle on which the substantive enactment is founded. The Town And Country Planning Act as the general law as a guide to action makes specific provision  • for the orderly and progressive development of land in both urban and rural areas; and • to preserve and improve the amenities thereof; and • for the grant of permission to develop land; and • for other powers of control over the use of land; and • to confer additional powers in respect of the acquisition and development of land for planning and • for purposes connected with the matters aforesaid. In each of the six stipulations there is evidence of discontinuity in principle and practice which vitiates the act. For example, the title of the official exponent of the act is abbreviated from Town & Country Planning Officer to Chief Town Planner, implying a restriction or limitation of jurisdiction that is inconsistent with the expression “orderly and progressive development of land in both urban and rural area” without provision for a Chief Rural Planner. In the context of the act and the existence of the private professional practice which it regulates, the title Chief Development Planning Officer would identify the public official with less ambiguity.

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