The issue is, how can the Court decide, there is NO SERIOUS ISSUE to be heard? The government only comes into play because they were the acquirers, and a politician, Dale Marshall, spoke to the matter. When this story broke in March, I fully expected a court challenge. The news it has been declined is beyond belief. It is one thing to hear the case and have a result, another entirely to find “no serious issue to be tried”.
It is fair to disclose our hand on the subject of Miss Ram. The way she has done business in Barbados over the years does not recommend her to this blogmaster. She has generously donated to both major political parties i.e. BLP and DLP. Her training as a lawyer allowed her to grease the system for the benefit of all.
However it will not prevent the BU household from creating blog space to invite opinions on the matter at hand. Government has moved full steam ahead to acquire the property known as Liquidation Centre owned by Ms Ram on Lower Bay Street to facilitate the construction of the Hyatt Hotel.
For years she has operated businesses in Barbados with questionable working working conditions. Hundreds of words can be posted about Furniture Limited. There is an instant in 2012 it failed a health inspection and was forced to suspend operations.
For years Ms Ram was allowed by authorities to operate a hardware cum retail Store on Lower Broad Street. It was a common sight to observe forklifts, 10 wheelers and other heavy duty vehicles loading and offloading items to support the business. The fact that it was an inconvenience to pedestrians and vehicular traffic in the area seemed inconsequential.
The preamble notwithstanding it is important government treats with citizens fairly. The issue at hand is that government and Ms Ram have been unable to reach an agreement on a price for the property where the Liquidation Centre is located. The inability of the parties to reach agreement has prevented the mobilization of the Hyatt project. She sought injunctive relief from the High Court last weekend and to quote a local press report:
In response, the owners sought injunctive relief through the High Court, which dismissed the application on the basis that there was no serious issue to be tried. The company then sought a stay of execution, which the court also rejected.
Some are arguing that government has no bone in the fight between Ms Ram and the Hyatt developer. The Land Acquisition Act Section 5 (1) 3 is very clear:
Nothing in this section shall be deemed to prevent the acquisitions of lands for public purposes by private treaty.
However the other side to the debate is that the Lower Bay Street area has been included in government’s redevelopment plan and others businesses previously located on the strip north of the Liquidation Centre have vacated.
As it stands the police and government have taken control of the property. The country waits to see if the warehouse will be razed or whether Ms Ram will do what she has been adept at through then years; litigation.