The Editor, Sir:
I would like to congratulate environmental journalist Peter Espeut for a well-written article in the Wednesday, November 29 edition of The Gleaner, 'Counterfeit development II.'
In support of Mr. Espeut's position, please allow for an elucidation of the related value of regional (county-based) local government general plans.
As legal land-use development documents, regional county plans (via the spatial administrative focus precipitated by county administrative boundaries) would serve to empower grass roots-based constituency leadership towards the timely/proactive scrutiny of a wide range of intra- and inter community-based economic/development activity, all in a spatially integrated/coordinated manner from "ridge to reef."
Thus, in essence, comprehensively, designed regional county general plans would seek to harmonise land-use activities across the island's bauxite, tourism, agricultural, housing development and manufacturing sectors, an outcome that ultimately aids the streamlining, clarification and grass roots personalisation of the many national ministerial development planning policy thrusts at the local community level.
Effectively manage the environment
In order to effectively manage the environment given changing technologies, changing environmental concerns and dynamic economic realities, regional county general would be comprehensively subjected to ongoing monitoring by county-based planning departments alongside periodic reviews by controlling grass roots/parish-based county councils, ones composed of parish councillors, members of Parliament as well as members of civil society - inclusive of representatives from environmental NGOs.
In conclusion, regional county general plans will afford not only a more cost-effective/spatially-rationalised approach to resource management, but also serve to foster heightened degrees of bottom-up (community-based) participatory governance of the environment - a hallmark of true democracy.
I am, etc.,
Department of Urban Studies and Planning
California State University
Northridge, Northridge, CA 91330-8259