Might Of The DCA – Plight Of The Parham -5

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By Rawlston Pompey

The Nation’s Youth were often stigmatized as; (a) ‘…Lazy and unproductive: (b) …Unenterprising and unindustrious.’ Society, along with some public officials, were not so kind to these unfortunate youth. Thus, neither in thought, word nor deed have they seen the way to reach out to them. It may have been for the latter reason that the Constitution speaks to a fundamental principle. The principle states; ‘…The people of Antigua and Barbuda respect the principle of social justice and, therefore, believe that the operation of the economic system should result in the material resources of their community being so distributed as to; (a) ‘…Serve the common good: and (b) …There shall be adequate means of livelihood.’ Most importantly, the Constitution clearly states; ‘There should be opportunity for advancement’ [CO: 1981: Principle: B]. This is a constitutional responsibility placed upon public administrators.

ROBBERS AND THIEVES

Not infrequently, some of these ‘Youth’ have been labelled as ‘Robbers and Thieves.’ There have been others that have often been called: (a) ‘…Burglars and Gunslingers: (b) …Drug dealers and drug pushers.’ Then those without gainful employment who constantly sits idly and unproductively at street corners, were often accused of being ‘Hooked on Marijuana.’ Still, there has been a category of persons that were often seen drifting aimlessly and hopelessly on the streets of St. John’s. They were often observed scavenging in garbage bins or plastic bags and other receptacles for a ‘Hungry Bite.’ These people were often referred to as either ‘Crack-heads.’ Their homes were the streets, while the means of sustenance came from ‘Pitch-In’ to strategically-located garbage bins. The lot of ‘The Parham 5,’ though filled with misery, uncertainty and frustration, yet was incomparable.

PERSPECTIVE

Showing industry and enterprise, ‘5 ambitious and self-motivated Youth,’ endeavoring to carve out a legitimate livelihood in the nation’s struggling economic system, sought and obtained from the relevant authority permission to set up and conduct ‘an Ital Food Shop.’ They were greatly revered for their enterprising spirit.  Then apparent institutionalized adversity struck. This commentary, therefore, looks at the ‘Might of the DCA’ and ‘Plight of ‘5. They had reportedly embarked upon a business venture that appeared to have provoked the envy of residential bigots and the wrath of a ‘Backhoe operator.’ He was said to have been acting under the authority of an apparent merciless agency of the State, the ‘Development Control Authority (DCA).

RULE OF LAW

None may deny that both ‘Government and People’ are governed by the ‘Rule of Law.’  When one speaks to this concept, one shall understand that such is ‘…A rule of law, made by some superior by which an inferior is bound to obey’ [Law Enforcement Training]. The ‘Physical Planning Act’ has made it sufficiently clear, that even ‘Second Form Students’ of the ‘Sir Novell Richards Academy (SNRA)’ and his grandchildren shall enjoy effortless comprehension.

OBEDIENCE TO LAW

Invariably, some public officers and public officials harbor the belief that the ‘State’ can do no wrong. Some also believe that ‘State Agencies’ are at their disposal to be used against the citizenry at will. This is clearly not the case. If only for the benefit of the citizenry and those public officers and officials in want of sensitivity training and compassion, it was considered useful to refer to the ‘Founding Constitution Principle.’ It reads; ‘Whereas the people of Antigua and Barbuda recognize that the Law symbolizes the public conscience, every person owes to it an undivided allegiance: and that the ‘…State is subject to the Law.’ What this means is that those placed in administrative or enforcement positions, shall not only be compliant, but also show ‘Obedience to Law.’

FEW DO WELL – MANY CATCHES HELL

Framers of the Constitution anticipated that: (a) ‘…Governing Administrations: (b) …Statutory Bodies or State agencies and agents, including ‘Physical Planners,’ may exercise powers arbitrarily or wield such power acrimoniously or punitively or in a victimizing way, they prudently inserted this seemingly frequently ‘Overlooked or Ignored Clause.’ It states; ‘…The State is subject to the Law’ [CO: 1981: Principle: D]. What this particular Clause is in effect saying, is that a State that makes laws, shall itself obey the said laws. Thus, likened to the citizens, this shall be done by its agencies, agents and employees. Incidentally, the framers also anticipated that some administrations may create investments climate, whereby those investing capital shall ‘Do Well,’ while indigenous citizens, shall encounter innumerable ‘Bureaucratic Challenges,’ whereby many indigent citizens were made to feel resign to ‘Catch hell.’

GOVERNMENT AND PEOPLE

Concerning the ‘Law,’ few citizens need to be reminded that the small twin-island nation of ‘Antigua and Barbuda’ is founded upon the ‘Principle of Law.’ Unlike other societies, where societal lawlessness is rampant, the great majority of the citizenry has recognized this principle. In so doing, they are generally seen as law-abiding. While a small minority has displayed an unruly propensity, they shall know there are consequences for acts or omissions not in keeping with the law. This is true of any act of defiance to ‘Enforcement Notices or Orders’ legitimately issued by the competent ‘Authority- Development Control Authority (DCA)’ [Physical Planning Act: No.6 of 2003].

FLY-BY-NIGHT INVESTORS

Many local and regional social commentators had long anticipated such developments. When prophetic social commentator, ‘Sir MacLean Emmanuel, Mighty Monarch, King Shortshirt’ sought to impress upon the mind of the nation’s youth; ‘…Teenagers take it cool; …We go build you technical school,’ he had obviously had seen the difficulties adult citizens had in eking out a decent living for themselves and families. Moreover, he wanted every able-bodied teenaged male and female to be well-positioned to eke out a legitimate living in their beloved island-nation ‘Antigua and Barbuda.’ Thus, he wanted no citizen, matured and youthful to be mere ‘Hewers of wood and carriers of water’ [Song: Technical School]. He also expressed serious concerns over the way the nation’s ‘Land Asset’ was being distributed and/or exploited by soc-called ‘Fly-By-Night Foreign Investors.’

SAVAGELY DEVOURED

Conscious of the situation and the negative impact on their socio-economic well-being and the quality of life, he spoke in songs to the policy-makers, the pitfalls of their desire for ‘Foreign Investments.’ These he identified as; (i) ‘…Over-lease of land; (ii) …Starvation: and (iii) …Frustration.’  He was reportedly kicked off ‘Halcyon Beach,’ he was said to have been operating the ‘Shortshirt Bar-B-Q’ Bar and Restaurant.’ Supplementing his cultural income, he was also said to have engaged in a thriving ‘Water Taxis Business.’ He was offering visitors to these shores ‘Glass Bottom Boat’ excursions around the island. Then, instead of him being ‘Empowered,’ his business was said to have been ‘Savagely Devoured.’

SELLING BLACK BIRTH RIGHT

He was kicked off the ‘Beach at Halcyon’ where he conducted his business [1980s]. In one of his social commentaries, he called upon all sitting administrations to ‘Share The Honey’ [1992]. Then singing on adverse conditions in the country, he belted out, ‘…I love Antigua; …Way beyond measure: …If honey in the land; …All Antiguans want their share’ [YouTube]. He was adamant and made it known that ‘Nobody Go Run Me,’ because, as he puts it; ‘Me Momma: …Poupa: …Pickney: and …Me Woman must Nyaam’ [Song: Nobody Go Run Me]. Today, he might be fuming mad with similar fate suffered by ‘5- Entrepreneurial Youth.’ Likened to ‘Sir MacLean Emanuel,’ another social commentator ‘Sir Paul Richards,’ dubbed the most thought-provoking and ‘Obstinate Calypsonian’ had serious concerns about what the ‘Black Politicians’ was likely to do.

NO LAND TO OWN

Eventually, the administration appeared to have given him good reasons to grumble. When he could not ‘Get a piece of land to own,’ seemingly out of frustration, anger and despondency, he sang to then ‘Prime Minister Sir Vere Cornwall Bird,’ ‘…If you only know half the things Lester does do: …Ah coming down to talk to you.’ Singing accusingly, he let the nation know that; ‘…They sell out me black birth right.’ Then sensitizing the citizens, he sang; ‘…With all the money me and me pickney have, me can’t get a piece to buy.’ Today’s citizens and today’s youth continue to sing the same song.

PRODUCTIVELY OCCUPIED

Seemingly troubled by impoverishment, under-employment and/or lack of employment, they reportedly pooled whatever limited financial resource they acquired. Thus, entering into partnership with each other and embarked upon their own business. The youth, identified as; (i) ‘…Malcolm Reid 27: (ii) …Davontee Joseph 26: (iii) …Kimani Gardner 26: (iv) …Tyree Smith 26; and (v) …Dequan Peters 26,’ showed a resolve in becoming resourceful and acting legitimately. Though they were not otherwise gainfully employed, they seemingly had a resolve to be ‘Productively Occupied.’ Hence, they had reportedly displayed no propensity toward being involved in acts of criminality.

INDUSTRY AND ENTERPRISE

The movable structure in which business was conducted was never seen as an eyesore. Neither to community residents, nor drive-through visitors. They were clearly not squatters. It was lawfully erected at a locale, several yards westward from the ‘Parham Seventh Day Adventist Church.’ It was within close proximity of the residence of a well-known Parham family. Nationally known for their intellect, education, public service and governance,’ a person of lowly status could easily become a ‘Cockroach in a Fowl Coop.’ While they have been reportedly approached by nearby resident another ‘Youthful’ community member ‘Dr. Courtney Lewis,’ concerning the noise level, they have not taken aught against him.

TOTAL DESTRUCTION

It was no illusions when Jamaican and internationally acclaimed reggae icon ‘Robert Nestor Marley,’ more fondly and widely known as ‘Bob Marley’ sang; ‘Ambush in the Night.’ The lyrical content showed clearly that evil forces were at work to eliminate humanity. Conscious of their evil deeds, ‘Bob’ sang these particular lines for ‘5 Parham Youth; ‘…They fighting for power; …But they know not the hour’ [YouTube: 1979]. Incidentally, in spite of reported ‘DCA Warnings’ and a timeline to remove the offending structure, it was they who knew not the ‘Hour of Demolition.’ Their business enterprise was facing total destruction.

AMBUSHED IN THE MORNING

The youth were ‘Ambushed in the Morning’ [Friday 14, January, 2022].  According to eye-witness’ reports, the painted ‘Black, gold and green colour structure,’ surreptitiously came under the machine-wrath of the ‘Country Planners’ and the State’s agency called the ‘Development Control Authority (DCA). On that fateful morning, for these youth, it was all over. In ‘One Fell Swoop,’  the approximately ‘10×14’ wooden and galvanize corrugated sheets ‘Ital Food Shop’ was backhoed to the ground. It was reduced to a pile of debris. In spite of its legally enforceable powers, many family and community members, public officials, attorneys-at-law and empathizers, have asked two fundamental questions; (i) ‘…Where is the humanity in the DCA Board? and (ii) …Where is the youth empowerment?’

BIGOTRY AND NEPOTISM

Then, as reported on social media, ‘Bigotry and Nepotism’ surfaced as being at the center and reasons for the ‘Demolition Order.’ The ‘Notice of Demolition’ was said to have provided ‘Seven (7) Business Days’ to remove the illegal structure.’ If the ‘Principle of Justice’ was to prevail, then such Notice may also have been guided by provisions that allow for a ‘High Court Appeal.’ Seemingly acting under pretext for the demolition, there had been speculative suggestions that residents in the immediate surroundings had complained to the ‘DCA’ of loud noises being emanated from the premises, while ‘Spurious Allegations’ of criminal activities being committed within the structure.

TWINKLE OF AN EYE

In the ‘Twinkle of an Eye,’ they have seen their investments destroyed. Thus, they have seen their hope dwindled, dreams shattered and aspirations blown into the atmosphere like the ash emitted from the recent explosive eruption of the ‘Tonga Volcano’ [SPACE Com: January 15, 2022]. That which was professionally and nationally known, is that the maintenance of ‘Public Order’ and the ‘Rule of Law’ within the wider community remains the functions of Law enforcement. Hence, these have never been the responsibility, neither of; (a) ‘…Town and Country Planner Frederick Southwell: (b) …DCA Board Chairman, attorney-at-law, Senator Gail Christian: nor (c) …The law-degreed background, intelligent and youthful Parliamentarian, and Minister with responsibility for the ‘Authority,’ ‘Maria Bird-Browne.’ For the five ‘Youthful Entrepreneurs,’ they were not only gripped by dismay, but also plunged to the depth of despair.

DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE

From a ‘Different Perspective,’ and that which appeared to have been at work were or have caused their woes may have been; (i) ‘…Ignorance of regulations contained in the Physical Planning Act: (ii) …Apparent vexatious Enforcement; (iii) …Being non-compliant with Notice/Order:(iv) …Grievous misunderstanding: and (v) …Serious omission on the part of both Country Planner and Development Control Authority (DCA) to guide the developers on their ‘Right of Appeal.’ Consequent upon this perspective, it was considered useful to look at certain aspects of the law governing all parties: (i) ‘…Land users/developers: (ii) …Country Planner and agents: (iii) …DCA; (iv) …Portfolio Minister: and by extension (iv) …General public.’

FUNCTIONS AND POWERS

The Act makes it sufficiently clear that the ‘Authority’ means the ‘Development Control Authority’ established under Section 5 of this Act.’ It also provides for the ‘Authority’ to employ; (a) ‘…A Town and Country Planner: (b) …A Secretary; and (c) …Such officers and employees as the Authority considers necessary for the purposes of carrying out the functions of the Authority’ [PPA: Section 6]. Likened to the ‘Board of Education Act’ that provides for a ‘Secretary,’ the same is obtained under the ‘Physical Planning Act.’ It states; ‘…The Town and Country Planner shall be the Chief Executive Officer of the Authority, and shall exercise the powers and duties specified in the Act.’ For the avoidance of doubt or misunderstanding, among these are Administration and Operation and Planning’ [Section 6 (2)].

ADMINISTRATIVE PROVISIONS

The ‘Physical Planning Act (PPA) imposes a duty upon the Minister with responsibility to know what it entails and be guided by the provisions. For ease of reference, it states; ‘…In exercising his or her functions, the Minister shall be guided by the principle that the provisions of this Act shall be applied; (a) ‘…Uniformly: (b) …Fairly; and (c) …Equally to ALL persons’ [Section 4 (3)]. There appears to have been ‘Public Confusion’ as to who is who. In the currency of the situation, Mr Southwell is NOT the ‘DCA,’ and the Statutory Body is not ‘Frederick Southwell.’ Frequently, however, the ‘Town and Country Planner’ shall be given ‘Basket to carry water.’ In given situations, that he/she shall do.

AUTHORITY TO SIGN

In the recent demolition exercise reportedly ordered by the ‘Authority,’ confusion appeared to reign as to who provided and signed certain documentation. That which shall eliminate any harbored doubts is contained in the ‘Physical Planning Act.’ It states; ‘…The Town and Country Planner shall sign all; (i) ‘…Development permits; (ii) …Refusal of Development permission: (iii) …Enforcement Notices: and (iv) …Other documents authorized by the Authority to be issued under this Act’ [Section 6 (5): No. 6 of 2003]. Additionally, the Act states ‘…The Town and Country Planner has the powers conferred upon him by this Act and the duties that he is required by: (a) ‘…This Act: and (b) …By the direction of the Minister: or (iii) …The Authority to perform’ [Section 6 (6)].

HARSH OR ACRIMONIOUS DECISIONS

Realizing that a ‘Town and Country Planner’ is no ‘Superman,’ Parliament provided authorized assistance by any ‘Planning Officer.’ The Act further states; ‘…The functions assigned to the Town and Country Planner by, or under this Act, other than those mentioned in ‘Subsections 5 and 6’ may be exercised by any ‘Planning Officer’ authorized by the ‘Town and Country Planner in writing,’ either generally or specifically, in that behalf’ [Section 6 (7)]. Parliament anticipates that either; (i) ‘The Town and Country Planner: (ii) …Other officers: or (iii) …The Minister’ may bring grief upon developers, either by extremely harsh or decisions or arbitrary enforcement of the provisions of the ‘Physical Planning Act’ [No. 6 of 2003].

APPEALS TO JUDICIARY

In such anticipation, the ‘Act’ also provides an avenue outside of the Administration whereby the ‘Aggrieved Developers’ may file Appeals against adverse decisions or insensitive, discriminatory or overzealous enforcement. Thus, in seeking redress or revisitation of any considered adverse decisions, it states; ‘…A person aggrieved by the giving of a ‘Notice’ under ‘Section 61’ of the Act, may appeal to the High Court of Justice.’ The Act effectively removes any administrative review by the ‘DCA’ and placed for the consideration of the Judiciary. However, either by calculated deception or negligent omission, the ‘Enforcement Notice’ to vacate the strip of land was said to have failed to include ‘Section 62’ of the ‘Physical Planning Act’ that provides for such appeal.

AGGRIEVED DEVELOPERS

It therefore states, ‘…On appeal under this Section the Court shall; (a) ‘…If it determines that the Authority was entitled to give Notice, confirmed the such Notice; and (b) …In any other case, give the Authority a direction to withdraw the Notice’ [PPA: Section 62 (i) (a & b)]. Not infrequently, ‘Aggrieved Developers’ either knows nowhere to turn or frequently turns to the political directorate. Dependent upon the side of the fence the aggrieved sits or the side of the road he/she travels, they are most likely to fall into potholes. This must never be experienced by any developer, including the ‘5 Youth of Parham.’ Not with the manifestoed ‘Strategic Vision to Rebuild and Empower.’ Critical to decisions or actions that may be deemed arbitrary or without lawful authority, the ‘Act’ also provides for ‘Compensatory Claims’ to the ‘Minister’ on the ‘Development Control Authority’ [Section 64].

CONCLUSION

It was then Opposition-hopeful and present Prime Minister Gaston Browne who gave earnest ’Assurance’ that, ‘…The ABLP brings to government a team of enlightened, competent and dynamic leaders who have excelled in their own business. Clearly intended in good faith to woo the electorate, the strategy speaks to this; ‘…It is for this reason that we shall introduce a new style of leadership and management in Antigua and Barbuda.’ That which even seems more fundamental is the ‘Continuing Assurances; that ‘…The old authoritarian leadership style that stifled growth and development will give way to key characteristics of good governance.’ These were to include; (a) ‘…Equity: (b) …Effectiveness; (c) …Mutual respect: (d) …Consensus: (e) …Transparency: and (f) …Accountability.’ Instructively, such new style of leadership and approach were expected to ‘…Cascade down to all social institutions’ [Page 5]. Given the dilemma of the general youth population and the citizenry as a whole, the adverse effect of the ‘Coronavirus-19 Pandemic’ on their socio-economic well-being, if only for the ‘5 Displaced Parham Youth,’ these shall be made to reflect in the behavior of some ‘State Agencies,’ including the ‘Development Control Authority.’ In keeping with the ‘National Anthem,’ ‘Each endeavoring: …All achieving,’ there shall be no need to allow the ‘Youth’ to stray waywardly or to resort to a life of crime.’ ***

 

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15 COMMENTS

  1. Shame on all these news portals in Antigua fir playing this lousey game…. Antigua is a free for all and when the authorities move in all cry foul… Shame on ANR

    • @ Tamed wolf : What the hell are you talking bout.
      ANR is the problem with this issue ?
      Go back into the wild and come back as another animal the wolf thing affecting your brain.

  2. It was then Opposition-hopeful and present Prime Minister Gaston Browne who gave earnest ’Assurance’ that, ‘…The ABLP brings to government a team of enlightened, competent and dynamic leaders who have excelled in their own business. MY FRIEND POMPEY I WISH TO CHALLENGE THAT STATEMENT AND DARE YOU TO MENTION ONE ALP PARLIAMENTARIAN THAT RAN A SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS BEFORE ENTERING POLITICS.

    • Why? Mr. Pompey did not make the statement nor is he saying it is true. He is simply reiterating what the current PM said. You are not reading.

      • Skyewill I am reading but I expected my friend Mr. Pompey to challenge the erroneous statement. However, that would perhaps have created a situation that could have some negative repercussions.

        • NO, no, no, no, no, NOT LOGICAL. Why would he challenge such? That is not the subject matter. It would have detracted from the EDUCATIONING and the lessons Mr. Pompey was disseminating. I wish you guys well. You would do well just listening to Mr. Pompey who have proven himself Genius.

    • CHALLENGE? …OH LAWD: …WHY ME?:
      Sure you would agree this that you have referred, is ‘NOT’ stated or being confirmed by the author.

      READ AGAIN:

      Obtained from ‘RESEARCH’ into the ‘…ABLP PUBLISHED MANIFESTO-2014’ for this particular commentary.

      Walk Good, My Friend.

    • ANR please note that some one has used my name to post that comment. Poster of the comment under my name, I dare you and any other of the ALP apologists and propagandists on ANR to name one ALP parliamentarian that has operated a successful business before entering politics.

      • Chuck, you mean like you???? Hmmm. You need to run for office and show us how it is done. The UPP need your expertise. Exercise your leadership skills, please. Perhaps your time has come. I speak from the heart.

        • Expertise? Leadership? which part? He is not even considered a ´real lawyer´ He and Chaku Waku in de same boat.

  3. Dear Mr. Pompey. Thank you for understanding. I predict a time when the youth will over run the government. There is a lot of good young men struggling to do the right thing catching hell mean while they give the Montzungu 30- and 40-year concessions. All villages should be declared empowerment zones

    • MY MISSING FRIEND?

      Welcome back, Friend.

      The information provided is primarily for ‘…Public education.’

      Just lending an understanding of that contained in the ‘LAW.’

      Many ‘…Cabinet Ministers’ were mortified.

      Notwithstanding PM Browne’s attempt at ‘Healing the Wound’ do know that he too, was not very pleased with the ‘DCA.’

      Sure he would have ‘…Quiet Words’ with the ‘…Minister and Chairman,’ themselves said to have no prior knowledge.

      Still believe the situation may have been handled in the ‘…SPIRIT OF LAW.’

      This is really not my Page, though.

      Fellas cuss ebry deh on dis Payge (vernacular).

      Blessed New Year.

      • My dearest Brother. I was in ANU for 9 months last month watching, learning, motivating and collaborating with the youth. I was very sick and returned for a third spinal surgery. I became paralyzed and got stuck in the back parking lot at Sir Lester’s Medical Center. No wheel chair ramp. It is simple things like this I use to grade performance. Our young people are the future of the nation and they have been beaten down since 1817. NEXT EPISODE: Return of the Jedi.

  4. This is a great opportunity to seek understanding of the down Trodden’d youth especially the young men of Antigua & Barbuda. They are the savior of our Social Security System not the Montzungu (carpet bagger). It is the youth that have a true vested interested in our country’s development. The montzungu only want to make money, use Antigua a well know international corrupt heaven as described by Mafia Ganster “Vincent Teresa” (Anna me say so) Stop treating them like they are stupid they know the deal and they getting tire. Once they stop trying and we still beating them down, they will fight back. It’s just a matter of time. AWAKE THE YOUTH MY SLEEPING COUNTRY. WAKE THEM cause I’m growing too old to give a shit.

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