I would like to thank Minister of Planning Camille Robinson-Regis for the changes she instituted when she came into power in 2015.

However, since the beginning of this year, it appears all these changes have come to zero.

Applications are taking longer than eight months, with no explanations as to why coming from anyone in authority. There are some people, though, who get their approvals in less than two months...

I am calling on those in authority to deal with this delay because it’s causing developers a tremendous amount of losses. Sometimes a house is completed and we have to wait months to get an approved plan, when the statutory period is two months.

It’s the exact same thing with subdivisions. I remember in years gone by, Town and Country would write asking for an extension. Now that courtesy has gone out the window. You can’t even get through to the office, much less ask about an outstanding application.

We know most governmental agencies have no customer care, but with the impending “online application” process coming at the Town and Country Department, I see no improvements with the process.

After all the seminars, all the advertisements, the fact remains—we will continue to remain a Third World nation with this type of service.

Elaine Peters



Although it comes at an unbearably high price, the COVID-19 pandemic brings opportunities for change that have been long needed but have hitherto gone to waste.

My headline today is not a typographical error. As suggested below, it is still uncertain whether the Government’s policy of siq, that is separate, isolate and quarantine, is a sound enough response to our COVID-19 crisis. We just don’t know yet.

COVID-19 is shaking civilisation to its core. Over one million persons are infected in 200 countries and over 55,000 have already died. Economies, industrialised and developing, are reeling. Global supply chains are being broken and the threat of shortages hangs in the air.

When we will have overcome the COVID-19 multi-pronged attack on Trinidad and Tobago, we will face associated problems ranging from the economy under severe stress such as it has never been before, with unemployment at a crisis level, disruption of the education system leaving all stakeholders confused, and possible shortage of foods.

The action taken by the Government over the past two or three weeks with respect to control and containment of the COVID-19 virus, which has been in line, by and large, with the action taken by other countries, ought to be supported if we are to weather this virulent epidemic.

It is a well-established truism that a crisis is a terrible thing to waste.

On the basis of and in recognition of this reality, conversations are taking place among various professional and sectoral elites about how not to let this moment pass without taking advantage of it.