Submitted by David Comissiong, Citizen of Barbados
SO FAR as the Hyatt Hotel is concerned, I — David Andre Comissiong – – have no “olive branch” to offer to anyone!
I wish to state for the record that I have never said anything about offering the new Barbados Labour Party (BLP) government any so-called “olive branch” in relation to my case challenging the permission granted by former Prime Minister Freundel Stuart to Mr Mark Maloney’s company to construct a 15 story Hyatt Hotel on beachfront land at Bay Street.
The term “olive branch” — used in relation to the so-called Hyatt Hotel case — is entirely the concoction of the Barbados Today online newspaper: and I would appreciate it if that newspaper would adhere to basic journalistic ethics and refrain from putting words in my mouth.
Let me make my position very clear in relation to the so-called Hyatt Hotel case:-
In March 2017 I filed a Judicial Review application against the then Democratic Labour Party (DLP) Government, in which I requested a Judge of the Supreme Court to review the manner in which Mr Freundel Stuart, the Minister responsible for Town and Country Planning, had processed Mr Mark Maloney’s application for permission to construct a 15 story Hyatt Hotel on the Bay Street beachfront.
I maintained in my Judicial Review application that Mr Stuart had committed a breach of the Law of Barbados by failing to require Maloney’s company to carry out an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), and that , as a result, the grant of permission to build the hotel should be squashed.
Mr Stuart responded by questioning my right — as a Citizen of Barbados — to bring such a Judicial Review application against the Government of Barbados.
And when the presiding Judge — Madam Justice Dr. Sonia Richards — ruled in my favour, Mr Stuart appealed to the Court of Appeal against the Judge’s ruling.
This is where the matter stood at the time of the change of government on the 24th of May 2018.
Now that we have a new Government, I have been questioned by the news media as to the fate of the Court case, and I have made my position absolutely clear :-
If the new BLP Government wishes to see the back of this Court Case that they have inherited from the previous DLP administration, they would have to do the following things:-
(1) Firstly, they would have to DISCONTINUE the Appeal that was lodged against Dr Richards’ ruling! (This is important because the Judge’s ruling confirmed that we, the Citizens of Barbados, DO have the right to challenge in a Court of Law nationally important decisions and actions of our Government that affect us — not in our personal capacities– but that affect us in our capacities as Citizens of the country.)
(2) Secondly, they would have to CONCEDE that former Prime Minister Freundel Stuart was WRONG in Law when he granted permission to construct a 15 story beachfront hotel without having carried out an EIA ( inclusive of the holding of Town Hall meetings) in respect of the proposed construction project..
(3) Thirdly — and most importantly — they would have to CANCEL the permission that was wrongly granted to Maloney’s company, and would also have to give an undertaking to require the staging of an EIA in the event that Maloney’s company makes a new application to construct the said Hyatt Hotel.
If the new BLP Government is prepared to carry out these actions, then I would have no need to continue the litigation against the Government, and the way would be clear for both sides to negotiate a discontinuance of the litigation.
How any of this can be construed as “offering an olive branch” is really beyond me!
Permit me to also state for the record that I am convinced that once Maloney’s application is subjected to an objective EIA that the findings of the EIA WILL confirm that the construction of any such 15 story hotel is NOT permissible because:-
(1) It will do tremendous damage to the physical and architectural landscape of Bridgetown;
(2) It will cause Barbados to be stripped of its UNESCO World Heritage Site designation;
(3) It will create massive problems for the Bridgetown and South Coast sewage systems; and
(4) It will impinge severely on the Barbadian people’s access to and enjoyment of one of their most prized and favoured beaches.
In other words, the staging of an objective EIA will disqualify the proposed 15 story Hyatt Hotel.