THE EDITOR: I wish to bring to the attention of Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram, to whom I spoke four weeks ago on the very dire situation facing people awaiting approval of residential plans at the Siparia Regional Corporation due to the absence at the County Medical Officers of Health (CMOH) Department, Ministry of Health, of PHI 3s and PHI 4s (public health inspectors) to sign off on plans.
According to information received from building inspector Michael Guelmo, 104 plans are stuck at the office of the CMOH in Siparia. More are being added weekly.
As a result of this applicants cannot get approved plans to commence construction as well as completion certificates to close mortgage and conveyancing transactions. This means people with bridge financing loans as well as land and housing developers are incurring significant costs, which are adding to their financial liability.
For example, if a bridging loan costs eight per cent per annum and there is a bridging loan of $1,000,000, the cost per month equates to approximately $7,000.
I have transactions delayed now for between three and four months occasioning significant additional costs not budgeted for.
Calls to the office of the CMOH have been met with sympathy but that’s not good enough. The reality is that even after the CMOH signs, various obstacles are met at the Siparia Regional Corporation, which is well within its right to deny or approve.
However, the applicants should have recourse to the extensive delays which are being experienced. In fact, there are no standards set by way of regulations that control the behaviour of officials with respect to time limits on approvals or denials. This is unjust.
I requested an appointment with the Local Government Minister since November, only to be told by his staff in San Fernando on two occasions that he decides whom he meets or not.
Those 104 delayed plans mean delayed construction activity and a frustrated economy.
Incidentally, the lack of PHIs to sign is a national problem. Who is in charge, Dr Parasram and Minister Faris Al-Rawi?
But who cares? We like it so. In the meantime I have asked my attorneys to give me advice on what would be the legal way forward. Public servants cannot frustrate the legitimate expectations of citizens to service within reasonable timeframes.