There must be strict adherence to town and country planning

Dear Editor,
Guyana is on a rapid developmental trajectory, and, as such, we must avoid all the pitfalls that Third World developing states are prone to make. I make specific reference to the way we utilise the land space available around us in a decent and well-ordered fashion.
That landmass that has been entrusted to us was meant to be fashioned and modelled in ways that befit a modern society; that is: its roads, bridges highways, housing, shopping complexes – I am talking about the whole infrastructural landscape. If strict laws are not put into our planning, then we would be well into the setting up of a modern ghetto.
So, it all hinges on the platform of setting up a proper town and country planning code. There must be strict adherence to mapped out areas for specific developmental works, such as housing and settlements, industrial zones, as well as open spaces which are to be reserved for the recreation of the citizens as well as be open for the free passage of clean air. In summary, the primary objectives of town and country planning are to ensure sustainable economic development and a better environment in which to live.
The foregoing has serious implications for planning, especially in urban areas, where there is a total disregard for open stretches of land. In Guyanese backward culture, open spaces – especially those near roadways or major development projects – are an invitation to squat or to encumber for one’s own personal use. It is a bugbear that has taken our country by storm, and something which Government must address. This problem must be stopped immediately.
This lawlessness can be seen in many places across the country. Specific mention is made of the East and West Coast and East and West Bank of Demerara. In all of the communities mentioned, urban squatting has become an ever-present problem.
The trainline embankment roadway, built to ease the traffic congestion in that area, has suddenly become a big problem in itself, with many persons building permanent structures on the road shoulders and parapets. There are dwelling houses, bars, betting shops as well as houses of ill repute existing here. What is going on in our country?
The British Developer Ebenezer Howard captured the true spirit of what modern society ought to be. He did this when he formulated The New Town, Green Belt Strategy, and in this regard, Guyana can do well in the implementation of this system here. We have the land space which is ideal for zoning, hence this must be implemented in order that we build for ourselves a modern developed country; or, God forbid, build a massive ghetto.
As Guyana moves into a modern future, there must be an aggressive, if not brutal, plan to get those persons and encumbrances off Government reserves. With the commissioning of the new Eccles-to-Mandela Highway, Government must look out for the squatters and roadside builders; persons who have no care for town and country development, who would otherwise cause a well-structured society to deteriorate into an eyesore. This cannot be allowed to take place.

Neil Adams