By TANYA SMITH-CARTWRIGHT
ATTORNEY Keenan Johnson, the newly appointed chairman of the Town Planning Committee, said his team is ready to tackle the department’s backlog, which is priority when the work commences.
Mr Johnson was announced chairman, along with the rest of the committee’s members, by Minister of Public Works and Utilities Alfred Sears yesterday at the Ministry of Works.
The appointment of this committee is the third in a series of board and committee appointments being carried out at the Ministry of Works since last week.
Prior to this committee, the boards of Water and Sewerage Corporation and the Beach and Parks Authority were named last week by the Minister of Works.
“Listening to everyone’s bio, I couldn’t help but have a great level of confidence and comfort in my ability to execute this role given the diverse backgrounds—engineers, accountants, construction experts and legal,” said Mr Johnson.
“I want to give you a level of confidence, minister, that we are up for the task and we will do what is necessary. Minister alluded to the fact that this Town Planning Committee is directly linked to the ongoing development of this country.
“So we know that we have a great task at hand. This administration itself has always placed a focus on the ease of doing business and we think that this committee is also a focal point in ensuring that that actually happens.”
Mr Johnson noted several times that his committee was up for the job and ready to commence duties. He indicated that the work will start after he and committee members receive a briefing from the Director of Town Planning.
“We are ready to get to work,” he said. “We are ready to roll up our sleeves. We know that there’s a lot to be done and that is going to start today.
“The first thing we will do is have a briefing with the director. We are going to sit down with the director. Once we have that briefing, we are going to meet.
“It is our intention to meet within the next week. We know that there is a lot to be done and so as soon as we have that briefing we are going to schedule our meeting.
“We are going, as best as possible, to address any backlog that we may have. I think that is the key priority right now.”
Naming the committee, Mr Sears laid out its main function.
“The function of the committee is critical because it is the gateway for the development of the built environment of The Bahamas,” Mr Sears said. “It is to ensure that structures which are built are in compliance before the sanction is given, at least preliminarily to the building code and other building requirements.
“It is in essence the gateway and as we seek to ensure that our built environment is sustainable, resilient, given the challenges that we face in a hurricane zone.”
Besides Mr Johnson, the other members of the board are: certified public accountant Aaron Jones; businessman Ralph Hanna; civil engineer Author Jones; civil engineer Rev Denzil Rolle; attorney Glenda Roker and Pierre Charlow.