GUEST COLUMN – Invalidity of National Park
IT IS the occupational hazard of “grass roots” politicians as legislators to adopt top-down policies detached from indigenous roots and causes, leaving undone that which ought to be done and doing that which ought not to be done even in the name of redundant International conventions which would “re-invent” procedures already in force.The International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) does not supersede the Barbados Town & Country Planning Act which makes provision for orderly and progressive development of land in both urban and rural areas and preservation and improvement of the amenities thereof.
For this purpose the act provides a statutory instrument in the form of a development plan and amendments which allocate “inter alia” open spaces public and private, protects buildings, caves, sites and objects of artistic, architectural, archaeological or historical interest, forests, woods and species of shrubs, plants and flowers from degradation or extinction. In these circumstances, the adoption of the National Park System of the United States for Barbados suggests the allocation of specific sites owned by the Crown for conservation of nature and natural resources as well as the designation of privately-owned property to be acquired compulsorily for that purpose.“Allocate” and “designate” are terms of art when used in the context of the Town & Country Planning Act. “Allocate” identifies the future use to which it is permissible according to the development plan for the specific site to be changed.“Designate” implies that the site identified is subject to compulsory acquisition within five years of the date on which the amendment takes effect.When it is clearly beyond the capability of the Crown to accomplish the compulsory acquisition of the land comprising a National Park System of Barbadosin five years from 2009, the substantive amendment of the Development Plan (2003) proposing that feature becomes invalid. From this it must be concluded that there is no lawful National Park from Archers Bay to Consett Bay as outlined in the Development Plan Amended 2003.It is practicable however for the same region to be described more appropriately and consistent with the law as “an area of comprehensive development for the preservation and improvement of the amenities thereof”. To accomplish this the requisite Planning Development Order would identify specific sites within the area of comprehensive development on which certain operations are prohibited, and for which the grant of planning permission should be obtained, and for which no planning permission is required. Appended to this development order there should be regulations prescribing standards and conditions relevant to every prohibition or permission in the comprehensive development area.