What happened to the 2004 Urban Development Programme?

Dear Editor,

In 2004 the Inter-American Development Bank funded a project titled the Urban Development Programme (UDP), the objective of which included a comprehensive revision of the property tax system of the six existing municipalities; and restructuring the management and operational systems for an upgraded Valuation Division.

Its implementation involved the use of then state-of-the-art technology that allowed every single property in the six municipalities to be viewed and recorded in sufficient detail as to facilitate an accurate evaluation of each property, with the ensuing data being carefully recorded by a number of well qualified technical personnel.

The UDP’s offices were sited at the corner of Broad and Smythe streets, Charlestown, where the hub of cross-county activities was coordinated by a very proficient team of managers, including Godfrey Williams, engineer; Walter Flatts, engineer; and Hugo Curtis, who coordinated the broad technical aspects of the valuation programme.  The records would show that a completely new property tax regime was successfully structured for implementation.

As it turned out, it was the consultancy firm of S V Jones Associates who instituted the required Human Resources Management Develop-ment systems of the projected relevant new organizational arrangements. It is worth noting that the Chief Valuation Officer at the time was none other than my LSE contemporary, Dennis Patterson, father of the current Minister of Public Infra-structure. Needless to say, like so many other consultancy projects of those times, the Urban Development Programme was never implemented. It remained dormant, with the Valuation Division being engulfed by the Ministry of Finance.  The indications are that the report has never been found, or heard of in that ministry.

Yours faithfully,

E B John

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