Overseas planners shut out

Applications for development
projects will now have to be made by a locally-based ‘agent’, according to
newly approved revisions to the Cayman Islands Development and Planning
Regulations.

What the change means is that
anyone who wants to build something in Cayman from now on must have a local
partner submit the proposals to the Central Planning Authority on their behalf.
Any overseas submissions to planning will be restricted unless there is local
participation.

“Previously, someone could come off
the plane and walk to the planning department, without a trade and business
licence, without a work permit, with no local contacts and make a submission,”
said local architect Burns Connolly, who helped draft recent changes to the planning
law and regulations.

“The planning department is
spending a lot of time and resources trying to explain to these overseas
groups, how to design buildings in the Cayman Islands, what codes are
applicable, and how to actually complete the submission.”

Now, the regulations require those
submitting a plan to first acquire a local trade and business licence.

Premier McKeeva Bush said the
revised definition might also exclude local draftsmen from participating if
they do not hold the appropriate licence.

“The result is the protection of
our local design community from unregulated persons from overseas who are
working here,” Mr. Bush told the Legislative Assembly on Monday. “My government
sees this as a step toward protecting those that are here and (who) have local
expenses.”

The change in the regulations is
simply one that alters the word ‘architect’ in the regulations to ‘agent’ –
defined as a person who must have a trade and business licence. The only people
who can obtain such licences in the Cayman Islands generally are Caymanians;
the exception being individuals who are granted a Local Companies Control
Licence.

“Especially in these times, the
local architects and draftspeople should be protected,” Mr. Connolly said. “You
can still choose whichever architect you want, as long as (the plan) is
submitted by a local agent.”

The issue not addressed in the
planning regulations is the legal definitions and requirements to be considered
an architect in the Cayman Islands. Currently, no such standards exist here.

That means anyone, even a child,
could theoretically submit building plans for consideration.

Mr. Connolly said that matter is
being reviewed by government and CASE- the Cayman Society of Architects,
Surveyors and Engineers are currently looking at drafts of professional
registration that would allow for some professional regulation of those industries.

“But that is a separate issue to
this one (the planning regulations),” Mr. Connolly said.

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