The Town and Country Planning Division intends to crack down on people constructing properties that are in contravention of its standards and regulations.


This, as massive flooding affected several areas following heavy rainfall across Trinidad over the last few days.


Speaking at a news conference on Friday afternoon, TCPD director Clyde Watche noted that many properties in flood-prone areas do not meet the TCPD's standards.


He said the TCPD is trying to curb this practice but has faced challenges in doing so.


"We do have unauthorised developments. You see them all over the country. All of these things happen and we are trying to deal with them. The mechanisms we have to deal with them have not worked as well as we would have liked."


TCPD Assistant Director Kerry Pariag said the organisation may have to prohibit development in certain areas altogether.


"The decision making would be to either retract or change the land use policies in the areas most susceptible to these hazards, where we prohibit urban development in these spaces."


Pariag encouraged members of the public to come forward and report cases of unauthorised development taking place so the TCPD can respond whether it be through legal proceedings or demolition.


Watche, however, said dealing with illegal development is not the responsibility of only the TCPD as other enforcement agencies must become involved.


Minister of Planning and Development Camille Robinson-Regis noted in a release that unauthorised development contributes to the flooding problems.


"The Ministry through TCPD has become very aware that there has been a high level of unauthorized development in flood-prone areas throughout Trinidad and Tobago as well as hillside development," she said.


Robinson-Regis said this will be dealt with in the near future.


"This action is being monitored by the TCPD and some resolve will be administered in the near future.  It is TCPD’s guiding principles and as diligent planners to always ensure that safety, adequacy, efficiency and natural balance is maintained between the environment and human existence. None-the-less the current weather related occurrences call for more astute actions and clarity for requirements in planning and planning procedures to be adhered to."



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