By Secretary, SVGIA
After almost eight years, there should not have been anything preventing the enforcement of the Architects Act 2011 (Act). However, at present the only thing that is prohibiting the implementation of the act, is for it to be gazetted in the official government gazette. For any bill to become law it must be signed by the Clerk of the House of Assembly then assented by the Governor-General and published in the Government Gazette.
In St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the regulation of some professions is in place and active. The architecture profession is supposed to be regulated by an architect registration board (St. Vincent and the Grenadines Architects Council) which has its own Architects Act, and the key roles of the architect registration board are to register architects, conduct disciplinary investigations, pursue unregistered use of the term architect, accredit programmes of study and inform the public on architectural registration issues. The board has a responsibility to the public, users of architectural services, the built environment industry, and architects who employ graduates.
We are at a crucial time in this country’s development where we see the need for all professions to be properly regulated. A good regulatory environment is an essential foundation for nations to make their country a great place to work and live and to protect their environment. Regulators are a key lever to encourage innovation across the economy and foster productivity growth. Good regulation helps to make countries healthier, cleaner, more prosperous and safer, while supporting innovative solutions to the challenges faced, and thereby serves the interests of all citizens.
In SVG, at present, the negative effects of this regulatory absence is evident primarily in the construction industry, where there seems to be a free for all approach allowing anyone and any organisation/firm to design, bid and implement projects. The local trained architecture professional is then left to compete with inexperienced, untrained and sometimes foreign individuals or firm/organisation. Within the construction industry the architects are the only ones that have a regulatory body in place with its own act. I, therefore, make this appeal to have the Architects Act 2011 officially gazetted and thereby enforced with the hope that it will be a catalyst for other professions to do the same. Please don’t kill our profession!
What does it mean to be a regulated profession? There are many occupations whose members claim to be professionals. In this context, an important distinction is whether the profession is a “regulated profession” or not. The most common definition of “regulated profession” is that the profession has a governing or regulatory body that is sanctioned by law to govern or regulate the profession. Being recognised by the state as a regulated profession is seen by many as the demarcation line between being a “real” profession and being just another self-declared profession.
No profession wants to be marginalised and, in the same sense, no architect wants to feel marginalised after dedicating years of academic study, with further years of practical experience before he/she can be entrusted with the title of architect. It is in the interest of everyone to have the act gazetted! Please don’t kill our profession! It’s is in the best interest of SVG to have this act enforced.
The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the opinions or editorial position of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].