David Comissiong Branded Enemy of the State
“An idiot is in the House of Parliament recommending that there are 15 – 17000 unoccupied houses in Barbados and Government should look at compulsorily acquiring them to either sell or rent. Pray tell when would THIS government pay the owners for their land. There is currently a plantation about to declare bankruptcy due to compulsorily acquired land and non payment by government. Is this a new form of democracy? Maybe it is time for the citizens to compulsorily acquire unused land and buildings from government and then set the price to be paid whenever they feel like”. – BU Commentator Fearplay
Members of the BU household vividly recall at the height of the Cahill debate Senators Maxine McClean and Verla De Peiza empathic in their condemnation of the BU household for leaking documents. Both of them went as far to suggest the household had committed a treasonous act. The decision to shutdown the Tees Valley 1 and 2 project in the UK has vindicated the BU household and other Barbadians who expressed concern. At the top of the list of concerns raised by Barbadians about the Cahill gasification was government approving the untested technology on a 166 square mile island. Thankfully in April 2016 Air Products- the developer of Tees Valley 1 and 2 -issued a statement to the effect that “additional design and operational challenges would require significant time and cost to rectify” the problem of constructing a gasification plant to process 700,000 tonnes of feedstock every year. The Cahill plant in Barbados was proposed to handle 650 tonnes of waste per day.
Today Minister Denis Kellman under the cloak of parliamentary privilege labelled citizen advocate David Comissiong as an enemy of the state –his crime, seeking a judicial review of government’s decision to approve the construction of the proposed 15 story Hyatt hotel at lower Bay Street. Kellman’s characterization of Comissiong for exercising a right under our law. The BU community was reminded by a family member that there is similar concerns being raised in London about the construction of high rise buildings, to quote him:- “in a city already plastered with “tall” buildings, matters like location, design and impact on character setting are still relevant. Yet we in Barbados supporting Hyatt” – read related article How new skyscrapers including the 1,000ft Trellis will transform London’s skyline.
To restate BU’s concern here is an extract from a BU blog:
If commonsense was not enough to support an EIA as a condition for approval for the Hyatt hotel project, the BU family was directed to the Draft Physical Development Plan (DPDP) dated February 2017 posted to the Town Planning Department website. Not only does the DPDP call for an EIS to be used as a tool to assess proposed development and a condition for approval, also, Heritage Impact Assessments (HIA), Agricultural Impact Assessments (AIA), Traffic Impact Assessments (TIA) where deemed relevant. Here is a quote from the DPDP:
Where ESIAs, HIA, AIS or TIA (Impact Assessments) are required, they shall be completed to the satisfaction of the Chief Town Planner, prior to approval being given. Approvals of development subject to Impact Assessments may contain certain conditions of approval to ensure that adverse impacts of such development are mitigated.
After suffering through some of the debate this afternoon in the Lower House several of the government members of parliament who spoke did not address the reason raised by Comissiong in his application for judicial review. They saw no need for transparency by including the people of the area in the transaction. To this day Barbadians have not been told how Vision Development Inc proposes to finance the project. Of the 100 million to be invested what will be the net foreign exchange inflow. This is the nature of the politics we practice in Barbados.
One can only marvel at the statement attributed to Minister of Housing Denis Kellman quoted at the top of the blog. He made mention of 5×16 to explain the level of occupancy at the GROTTO. Who can translate? Did Minister Sinckler state he is willing to challenge anyone that there was overruns associated with the GROTTO project? Is he challenging the Auditor General of Barbados who was scathing in his concerns? See Special Auditor General Report 2016 – Special Audit on the National Housing Corporation High Rise Apartments at Grotto and Valerie