They Making (HYATT) Mock Sport at WE!
Submitted by David Comissiong, Citizen Advocate
Over the past week or so an entity named “Hyatt Centric Development Team” has been sending out invitations inviting selected persons to a “public interactive discussion on the project” at the “site of the Hyatt Centric Resort, Carlisle Bay, Bay Street, Bridgetown” on Saturday June 10th, 2017.”
This development constitutes a callous “slap in the face” of all Barbadians and a monumental insult to our intelligence!
Indeed,these people are so contemptuous of us that they are bold-facedly holding a public town hall meeting (or as they term it— a public interactive discussion) NOT during the period of the processing of the application; NOT prior to the Minister making a decision on the application, but some four (4) months AFTER the Minister has made his decision to grant permission to construct the controversial hotel!
This meaningless town hall meeting is therefore simply a window dressing and public relations exercise on the part of the developer ! It has no substance or utility!
The whole purpose of a public town hall meeting is to give the Citizens and residents an input or say in the decision-making process BEFORE any decision is made by the authorities.
Indeed, when a public town hall meeting is held as part of the processing of an application for a construction project it is stipulated that a record MUST be made of the meeting, and that the record must be forwarded to the Town and Country Planning authorities for their consideration PRIOR to the making of a decision on the application.
I wish to reiterate that the application of Mr Mark Maloney’s company for permission to construct a 15 storey hotel on the beach at Carlisle Bay required that the proposed project be subjected to an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) BEFORE any decision could be properly made on the application. And the staging of a serious and meaningful public town hall meeting would have been an integral requirement of the EIA process!
Here, for the record , is what our Town and Country Planning Department’s “Handbook and Guide To Town Planning” says about this matter:-
Any application to the Chief Town Planner which requires the preparation of an environmental impact assessment SHALL be the subject of a PUBLIC MEETING. The EIA report shall be made available to the public for a period of not less than twenty-eight (28) days to allow for perusal and scrutiny. The EIA report SHALL be made available within the community, district or main public library and the Town and Country Development Planning Office.
No later than fourteen(14) days after the public meeting the applicant is REQUIRED TO SUBMIT THE REPORT OF THE PROCEEDINGS TO THE CHIEF TOWN PLANNER.
The public meeting shall be advertised on local media and at least one daily newspaper announcing the availability of the EIA report at the commencement of the twenty-eight day period. The advertisement should occupy at least one quarter page in the newspaper and should be bold and noticeable.
Furthermore, Section 12.2 of our country’s Physical Development Plan stipulates that “where Environmental Impact Assessments are required they shall be completed to the satisfaction of the Chief Town Planner PRIOR to approval being given“.
In light of the foregoing, the proverbial “Six Million Dollar Question” is :- “Why wasn’t this particular project subjected to an Environmental Impact Assessment, inclusive of a substantive and meaningful public town hall meeting in which we— the people of Barbados– could have asked serious questions, demanded answers, and recorded any concerns or objections that we might have about the project ???
Somebody will have to answer this question , whether that answer is provided in the public domain or in the confines of a Court room.