Minister of Public Works Desmond Bannister yesterday commended the work of former Town Planning Committee Chairperson Diane Holowesko-Dunkley, explaining that sitting on the committee is a huge sacrifice made by those chosen to do so.
Bannister, who spoke to Guardian Business yesterday, said while the committee’s decisions are sometimes criticized, it is important to remember that they are human.
“I commend them for the work that they do,” he said.
“Sometimes their decisions are criticized, but they are human. There is a tremendous amount of sacrifice, because these are working people… they give up their time.”
It was announced last week that Holowesko-Dunkley stepped down as chairperson of the Town Planning Committee, and former Bahamas Bar Association Real Estate Committee Chairman Adrian White would take up the position.
An email from Holowesko-Dunkley to Town Planning Committee members confirmed that the two-year chairman has decided to pass the torch.
The committee was put in place to pull public opinion into how development is allowed to be carried out throughout The Bahamas.
And while the committee has been integral in engaging Bahamians on developments, it has also been criticized in some instances by developers.
Last year after having a months-long stop order placed on his plans to develop an office complex near Lyford Cay, businessman Sebas Bastian received confirmation from the Town Planning Committee to start construction.
The confirmation came a week after Bastian’s attorney, Alfred Sears, QC, wrote to Minister of Public Works Desmond Bannister alleging that his client was being discriminated against and threatening to sue the government if the matter was not resolved within seven days.
Bannister said that under Holowesko-Dunkley the town committee met every Tuesday and operated almost all day. He explained that under her leadership the committee “worked more than any town planning committees I have known”.
“They have done the best they can do,” he said. “They have done an amazing job.”
Bannister said he has not yet met with the new chairperson of the committee, but he praised Holowesko-Dunkley for her contribution during her time.
“I commend Mrs. Dunkley for her amazing commitment to what she did while she was here,” he said.