Editorial for 24 October: Planning board needs attention

Although the story itself may appear to be innocuous to the
casual reader, we assure all and sundry that statements made in today’s front page story about the operations of the Central Planning Authority have
certainly gotten our attention.

What the story reveals, for the first time, is that the
individual charged with reviewing appeals made in respect of planning authority
decisions is concerned about record-keeping and the potential for conflicts of
interest among authority members.

Planning Appeals Tribunal chairwoman Theresa Pitcairn, who
is a lawyer, states her belief that more legal expertise is required in various
appointed tribunals across government since what they are doing is essentially
interpreting administrative law.

If the legal quagmire that is the local planning process is
not handled properly, if minutes are incomplete or wrong, if board members do
indeed have undeclared conflicts; it potentially opens the door to a flood of
legal action with regard to planning board or appeals tribunal decisions. This
could potentially apply to many other government-appointed boards, as Ms
Pitcairn notes.

Perception is often reality. Even if nothing untoward is
going on, an ineffectively managed government process can mean time-consuming
and expensive courtroom arguments down the road and that won’t help Cayman’s
economy.

 

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