“The South Regional Office (SRO), as well as the entire staff of TCPD, are in constant preparation for this digital transformation.” – TCPD Executive
DevelopTT, Trinidad and Tobago’s online platform for construction permitting, was launched in March 2020 at TCPD’s North Regional Office and has since been expanded to include County Caroni, and most recently, TCPD’s South Regional Office (SRO). On June 28th 2021, the South region was officially introduced to the DevelopTT platform as the Stamp Duty Exemption Correspondence and Status of Land Correspondence E-services were made available to the SRO via the online platform. As of June 28th 2021, TCPD’s SRO will no longer accept manual applications for Stamp Duty Exemption Correspondence and Status of Land Correspondence.
Recently, the TCPD’s Executive Team took the opportunity to discuss these latest developments at the Division, “From the Office of the Director.”
MPD: The DevelopTT system was launched in March 2020 and was most recently expanded to TCPD’s South Regional Office (SRO) on June 28th, 2021. How would you assess the performance of the online platform thus far? And what has the feedback from stakeholders been like?
TCPD Executive: All transitions have their challenges, and it’s no different with the implementation and integration of this automated system. The Division is constantly working with the consultants to make the system as efficient as possible. The feedback from our stakeholders has definitely been positive as they become more aware of the online system and the ease of submissions and tracking thereof.
MPD: What are the biggest benefits of this DevelopTT platform to internal and external stakeholders?
TCPD Executive: The external stakeholders will enjoy ease of doing business, timely submissions, feedback and processing, and of course digital authenticators.
For TCPD’s staff, the digital platform results in paperless submissions, concurrent processing and also allows for accountability and transparency in the approval process.
MPD: The pilot of the DevelopTT system was first implemented in the Port of Spain area before branching out to the rest of the North Region and subsequently Central. Why was South chosen as the next destination?
TCPD Executive: Pursuant to the Division’s ongoing digitization programme, the SRO was in a state of readiness to adopt the use of the digital platform.
The TCPD has completed the large scale digitization of 100,288 files and application documents as part of Digitization Project, Phase I, which covered its North and South Regional Offices. This achievement involved the digital conversion of 1,524 plotting maps; 2,935 subdivision layouts and 95,829 green file applications. Green file applications are for permission to develop land and consist of outline approvals and final permission for planning applications.
“The feedback from our stakeholders has definitely been positive as they become more aware of the online system and the ease of submissions and tracking thereof.”
MPD: Does the South Regional Office receive the most applications when compared to TCPD’s other regional offices?
TCPD Executive: Yes, our records indicate this.
MPD: At present, TCPD’s North Regional Office is solely accepting digital applications for Planning Permission, Stamp Duty Exemption Correspondence and Status of Land Correspondence, while Complaint Matters can also be submitted online via the DevelopTT portal. What influenced the decision to go digital with Stamp Duty Exemption Correspondence and Status of Land Correspondence at the SRO straightaway?
TCPD Executive: In addition to being in high demand by the public as they are essential to tax exemptions and mortgages/loans process at financial institutions, the said submissions provide an immediate training platform for the staff of the SRO. Once the SRO’s records are fully digitized, all other submissions would be done digitally and it is anticipated that the transition will run smoothly.
MPD: When can prospective DevelopTT users in the South Region expect the Planning Permission e-Service to be integrated in that region?
TCPD Executive: The Division envisages that the Planning Permission e-Service will be integrated into the DevelopTT platform for the SRO by January 2022.
MPD: Any potential dates or timeframe for when the East and Tobago Regional Offices will be integrated into the DevelopTT platform?
TCPD Executive: Such timelines are dependent on the Division’s ability to procure the requisite equipment and office ICT infrastructure.
MPD: Is the SRO ready for this digital transformation?
TCPD Executive: The SRO, as well as the entire staff of TCPD, are in constant preparation for this digital transformation.
Editor’s Note: As of July 2nd 2021, DevelopTT has received 1924 applications via the online system, while 2217 persons have registered for the use of the system.