The Ministry of Planning and Development has implemented interim measures to reduce or eliminate the spread of COVID-19. The Ministry says the purpose of these steps is to safeguard its employees and citizens.
In a press release issued today, the Ministry announced new guidelines for the submission of applications, meetings, and collection of responses.
The following is a press release from the Ministry of Planning and Development
While the Town and Country Planning Division (TCPD) is working to ensure that all essential services within its mandate are maintained, actions necessary in keeping with social distancing policies of the Ministry of Health to reduce, or eliminate, the spread of COVID-19 are being instituted.
The TCPD’s Offices are all open for business. However, in order to continue safeguarding citizens and employees against the COVID-19 pandemic, the Divsion will be implementing the following interim measures from Tuesday 2nd June 2020:
1. Submission of Applications – “Drop Boxes” will be strategically placed at each Regional Office to facilitate the submission of NEW applications and Complaint Matters. Members of the public are reminded that applications must satisfy the guidelines provided by the Town and Country Planning Division. It is imperative that the envelopes be sealed and that an email address be included in the package. Receipts will be scanned and emailed to applicants.
2. Meetings / discussions with Officers – In order to reduce the need for members of the public to physically visit the Town and Country Planning Division’s offices in Port of Spain, Tunapuna, San Fernando and Tobago, the public is advised to schedule appointments via telephone or email. Appointments will be scheduled based on the specific circumstances of the request or inquiry. Where possible, staff of the TCPD will arrange to meet with applicants using available virtual platforms such as Microsoft Teams or Zoom. However, for persons who will visit the respective offices, physical distancing measures will be in effect and face masks are compulsory.
3. Collection of Responses – Applicants will be contacted by the relevant Regional Offices with respect to the collection of responses to applications.
4. Application Forms – Application forms are available online via https://www.planning.gov.tt/tcpd-services/application-forms, thus eliminating the need to physically collect a forms. However, forms are available at each Regional Office.
5. Online Submissions – Applicants in Port of Spain, Diego Martin and within the jurisdiction of the San Juan Laventille Regional Corporation have access to the paperless construction application system, DevelopTT. The DevelopTT pilot was launched on March 2, before the national stay at home measures and has been functioning throughout April and May.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has created a challenging environment globally, it has also allowed the TCPD to expedite some of the measures utilising new and existing technology to help facilitate the drive to move to a paperless construction application system. Another goal of the DevelopTT platform is to improve Trinidad and Tobago’s ranking on the Ease of Doing Business Index, by shortening the time frame for applications to receive responses regarding approval, therefore allowing developers to start their projects faster than before. These measures also reduce the need for physical contact now that the construction sector has been given the go-ahead to resume.