Patricia Green |  Jamaica like Singapore – Rhetoric or [un]reality |  On point
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Patricia Green | Jamaica like Singapore – Rhetoric or [un]reality | On point

“It’s not only what we do, but also what we don’t do, for which we are responsible”, Molière, French playwright and poet.

The public defender told a parliamentary committee in January 2019 that nearly 4,000 people were arrested during the state of public emergency in St James, but only 4% of detainees were charged. The court has now awarded $17.8million to St James taxi operator Roshaine Clarke, whose fundamental rights were breached when he became detained.

“The right to enjoy a healthy and productive environment free from the threat of injury or damage resulting from environmental abuse and degradation of the ecological heritage” is set out in Chapter III of the Charter Act 2011 fundamental rights and freedoms (constitutional amendment). The Citizens Rights to the City (CRC) alliance met with the Mayor, City Clerk, senior administrators and councilors from the offices of the Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation (KSAMC) on April 27.

They asserted their basic rights regarding developments in their neighborhoods. Mayor Delroy Williams responded to the issues raised, that the KSAMC must consult with their lawyers first. This has made it clear to citizens that the performance and accountability criteria under the Construction Act 2018 governing and mandating the operating procedures of KSAMC now resides elsewhere.

Is it now the practice that required routine government operations should use public sector funding to engage legal services? Is it possible that some of the reasons for the lack of response and delays from various government entities are budget constraints on legal services? Are lawyers now being relegated by these various public sector entities to managing operational procedures instead of trained and technical professionals and experts in the built and natural environment?


Industry, Investment and Trade Minister Aubyn Hill said Jamaica stands to benefit significantly from investments in Special Economic Zones (SEZs) and the country’s bid to become a logistics hub world. Reported on April 6 by the Jamaica Information Service (JIS), Minister Hill cites the example of countries such as Singapore, Israel and Qatar, with populations relatively comparable to Jamaica. Prime Minister Andrew Holness addressing the eighth annual International Conference and Exhibition of the World Free Zones Organization (WFZO) on June 14 in Montego Bay said Jamaica’s “mission is to build on these assets natural resources and to position Jamaica as the fourth global logistics mode, comparable to Singapore, Dubai and Rotterdam”, records the JIS. Jamaica Promotions Corporation president Diane Edwards told JIS that “we want to become a logistics-centric economy and a logistics hub equivalent to Dubai, Rotterdam and Singapore.”

The parallels with Singapore are frequently repeated. Several presenters mentioned Singapore during the Jamaica 60 Diaspora conference, themed “Reigniting a Nation for Greatness” from June 14-16 by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Singapore gained independence from Britain in 1965 and is a parliamentary republic. Jamaica is a parliamentary democracy, constitutionally ruled by the monarch since its independence from Britain in 1962. The island of Singapore is approximately 710 square kilometers and the parish of St Thomas is approximately 742 square kilometers with the Jamaica’s total area of ​​approximately 11,000 square kilometers. Other comparative statistics from Germany include – mean age 35.6 years (S)/29.4 years (J); Population 5.6 million (S) /2.9 million (J); Inhabitants (per square meter) 7,908 (S)/269 (J); Diabetes 5.5% (S)/11.3% (J); Gross domestic product (GDP) per capita $72,795 (S)/$4,717 (J); Broadband Internet 1.5M(S)/0.36M(D); Internet Server 1.9M(S)/0.04M(D); Quality of life: civil rights 89% (S)/52% (J); Quality of life: Political stability 83% (S)/56% (J); Unemployment 3.6% (S)/9.2% (J).

The Singapore Urban Redevelopment Authority’s (URA) slogan website, “To make Singapore a great city in which to live, work and play”, identifies Singapore as a “small state” that is focused on the future for optimize its limited territory in order to “meet needs”. needs of present and future generations. The URA first undertakes comprehensive planning that takes the long-term approach to urban development, “holistically balancing social, economic and environmental considerations”. Second, integrated planning, working closely with government agencies and the public to produce and revise master plans.


Singapore’s comprehensive and integrated planning balances three considerations: (1) social; (2) environment; (3) economic, all overlapping in its goal of “sustainability”. The objective is to offer a quality living environment, to offer many opportunities for growth and jobs to the population and to preserve a clean and green landscape.

URA planners and architects use data analytics and geospatial technologies for deeper insights and more informed decisions in planning land use, amenities and infrastructure. For example, they predict potential hurricane impacts for responsible urban site placement and development project mitigation strategies, critical for multi-story investments.

Everyone, including people outside of Singapore, can freely and easily access the URA’s interactive physical models as well as online virtual models showing areas across the country. This provides opportunities to chat with technical and other staff for expert advice on developments next to and in your neighborhood, or as a potential developer/investor.

Singapore’s Master Plan was approved in 1958. It has gone through 10 revisions and various amendments, the latest in 2019. Its concept plan outlining long-term land-use strategies is regularly revised and translated into its detailed land use plans for the various plannings. areas, to form the overall master plan.

The Jamaica Town and Country Planning Act 1958 is the current legal document under the aegis of the National Environmental Planning Agency (NEPA) which is working with Vision 2030 Jamaica to make “Jamaica the place of choice to live, work, raise a family and do business”. NEPA manages the National Spatial Plan, “Jamaica National Physical Plan 1970-1998”, which guides future development. It allows for various parish development ordinances with varying status of “provisional” or “confirmed”, as legal documents used to guide development in the respective areas.

For example, the Kingston Development Order was confirmed in 1966, and in 2017 came the “Kingston and Saint Andrew and the Pedro Cays Provisional Development Order” (PDO), which is still unconfirmed. Note that the court ruled that this 2017 ADP is material evidence in fundamental rights litigation over development projects in the Kingston metropolitan area.

Linking Singapore and my recent visit to St Thomas Parish, I appreciate firsthand the many issues raised by its people. Where are St Thomas’ comprehensive and integrated development plans filed and available to everyone, including potential investors? Where are the impact assessments for quarrying, mining, landslides and Roselle Falls heritage site? Developers are surveying properties there after posting notices (some destroyed by the weather) on lampposts while citizens remain oblivious, including some pending eviction notices. Would this scenario be replicated in Singapore?

Patricia Green, PhD, architect and registered ecologist, is an independent researcher and advocate for the built and natural environment. Send your comments to [email protected]