Why are they so Concerned about a Judge Reviewing the Hyatt Matter?
Submitted by DAVID COMISSIONG, CITIZEN OF BARBADOS
In August 2016 I– David Comissiong — wrote to Prime Minister Freundel Stuart in his capacity as Minister responsible for Town and Country Planning and informed him that the Law of Barbados stipulated that the application made by Mr Mark Maloney’s company for permission to construct a 15 storey hotel on the beach at Carlisle Bay had to be subjected to an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), inclusive of at least one public Town Hall meeting BEFORE any decision could be made on the Application.
In my said letter to Mr Stuart I stressed that the proposed project could possibly be very detrimental to the physical, social, and cultural environment of Barbados and needed to be carefully and thoroughly scrutinized through the staging of an EIA. I also stressed that the people of Barbados needed to be given an opportunity to have a say on the proposed project through at least one public Town Hall meeting.
Needless-to-say, Mr Stuart never even acknowledged my letter, much less did he deign to respond to it! Rather, in February 2017, Mr Stuart proceeded to grant Maloney’s company the permission to build their 15 storey hotel without having had the findings of an EIA or the Report of a Public Town Hall meeting to guide him in the making of his decision.
It is against this background that I decided that it was necessary to ask a Judge of the Supreme Court of Barbados to review the manner in which Mr Stuart had processed the Application in question, and determine whether or not the Application had been properly and lawfully processed by Mr Stuart. This legal procedure is known as Judicial Review.
I therefore filed an Application for Judicial Review in March 2017, and attached to that Application a request that the Court should grant an “interim order” suspending the permission granted to Maloney’s company until the Court has the opportunity to “hear” the entire matter and make a decision. To date,there has not yet been any substantive hearing of the Judicial Review application nor the attached request for an “interim order”.
Since then, however, a number of persons have jumped out of the proverbial wood-work to attack me for daring to request that the manner in which Mr. Stuart processed the said Application be reviewed and scrutinized by a Supreme Court Judge.
The obvious question that comes to mind is this: “If these persons are so sure that the Application of Maloney’s company was properly processed, and that all the applicable rules and regulations were followed, then why are they so apprehensive about a Judge of the Supreme Court reviewing the matter”?
Why are these people attacking me for exercising my Constitutional right to ask our Supreme Court to review the actions of a Minister of Government?
Why– some four months AFTER the Minister made his decision to grant permission — is Maloney feverishly staging public relations exercises in the form of a so-called “public interactive discussion’?
If they are all so certain that everything is legal and above board, why are they all so agitated?
I for my part am content to let a Judge of our Supreme Court examine all of the available evidence and make an objective decision on the matter. Furthermore, if it is found that the relevant rules and regulations demand that an EIA be staged, it would be folly of the highest order to permit this project to go ahead in the absence of such an EIA.