“BEST urges the public to take a stand and make their voices heard regarding these Amendments to the Planning Act,” the Bermuda Environmental Sustainability Taskforce said.
A spokesperson said, “Bermuda Environmental Taskforce, [BEST], is extremely concerned about the Amendments to the Planning Act tabled in Parliament last week. Under these Amendments, the Government will have the ability to approve future Special Development Orders [SDOs] and Emergency Development Orders by negative resolution. It is understood that this will allow the Minister and Government a possible way to avoid having SDOs tabled and debated in the House before coming into effect.
“It should be noted that this part of the Planning Act was amended in 2011 by the Government to require a positive resolution. An Act brought forward by positive resolution must be tabled, debated and passed before coming into law, whereas a negative resolution does not. BEST strongly urges the Government to withdraw this Bill.
“Minister Walter Roban was the Minister responsible when the 2011 amendment was tabled. He eloquently stated at that time that the amendment would ‘clarify that a Special Development Order is a statutory instrument and thus subject to Parliamentary scrutiny, which would allow for greater transparency and openness of process… Further, it is proposed that the appropriate scrutiny should be via affirmative resolution procedure, thereby enabling the legislature to fully consider and debate all the permissions and conditions to be attached to a Special Development Order.’
“At the second reading of the Amendments, the Minister added that ‘This will ensure transparency of the decision-making process and the ability for Parliament, the Legislature, and the public to comment and openly debate such orders.’ What has changed since 2011?”