Open for Business – Barbados Development Plan

The following note was received from the civic minded Peter Lawrence Thompson with the link to a 122 page Barbados Development Plan pitched to potential investors to transform and modernize Barbados while maintaining those things that make it special. Given the robust discussion about Hyatt Hotel, Blue Horizon and other development initiatives across, the document serves as a good resource.

Many have asked to see the official development plan that provides the context for the proposed Hyatt branded development on Bay Street. The linked document is from Barbados Tourism Investment Inc., not from the planning office, but it clearly has the PM’s endorsement so I believe we can treat it as an official plan for Bridgetown development.

Relevant Link

Barbados Development Plan

To Build or NOT to Build – A National Conversation is Required

Submitted by David Comissiong, Concerned Citizen
To continue to build on the beaches of Barbados or not to build — that is the question! (And whether or not to start the practice of constructing towering buildings along the coastline of Barbados — that is an associated question!)
My own personal position is that we have already done enough building on the most prized beaches of Barbados, and that we are in danger of killing the proverbial goose that lays the tourism golden egg.
And so, whether I oppose the building of a 15 story monstrosity of a Hyatt hotel in the law courts of Barbados or through an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process — inclusive of Town Hall meetings — the fact is that I, in my capacity as a Citizen of Barbados, intend to continue to oppose it ! Those who would suggest otherwise either really don’t know David Comissiong, or are simply engaging in opportunist partisan politics.
Surely, the main reason why tourists choose to come to Barbados is to enjoy the beauty and comfort of our natural environment — with our beaches taking pride of place — and to experience the heritage of our country and the warmth and hospitality of our people and their social culture.
I would therefore like to urge all Barbadians to seriously consider whether we really want to construct towering hotel structures along the magnificent beachfront of Carlisle Bay, or to accelerate the process of transforming a Bajan people’s beach into an alienated coastal zone in which locals feel uncomfortable.
Fellow Barbadians, what is wrong with establishing extensive “windows to the sea” along the most beautiful beaches of Barbados , so that these beaches can remain uncluttered and readily accessible for both citizens and visitors alike, while future hotel development takes place on the land-side of the coastal highway ?
It is important that we recognize that Barbados possesses a unique natural, socio-cultural, and historical / heritage environment, and that we must therefore be very wary about engaging in so-called “development” that ends up doing permanent damage to what is truly unique and valuable about our environment. You see, once we do any fundamental damage to our unique Barbadian environment, we will never be able to restore it and it will be lost forever.
Indeed, in this regard, we need to pay special heed to the opinion of Mr Peter Stevens, the President of the Barbados National Trust, who has gone on record and has warned us that if the proposed Hyatt Hotel is constructed (as currently designed) it will almost certainly cause Barbados to be stripped of its UNESCO World Heritage site designation. And this would be a terrible tragedy, because the real future of Barbados’ tourism industry lies in the development of cultural, heritage, health , and educational tourism!
I also feel very strongly that as we go forward with tourism in Barbados that we should seek –more and more — to indigenize the industry. Let us, therefore, commit ourselves to a future of locally owned hotels and related facilities that fit snugly into our national environment , and that radiate the unique personality, charm, culture, and hospitality of the Barbadian people.
In conclusion, please permit me to say that the issue of “to build or not to build” on the beaches of Barbados (or the issue of whether or not to build towering hotels on our coastline) should not be pigeonholed as David Comissiong’s issue. Needless-to-say, I will continue to advocate and fight for my own personal position on the issue, but it is really a national issue and it is time that we have a comprehensive and responsible national conversation about it.

David Comissiong Has No Olive Branch to Offer on the Hyatt Case!

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.

Former Minister of Finance Sinckler Waived $330,000 in Duties on Mercedes Benz for Director of Hyatt Hotel

Hyatt2

A recent picture of the Hyatt location on Bay Street i

One of the more interesting revelations made by Prime Minister Mia Mottley at yesterday’s press conference was the waiver by the last Democratic Labour Party (DLP) of duties in the amount of $330,000 on a Mercedes Benz AMG GLC Coupe on April 12, 2018- to be used by a Director of Sales of Hyatt hotel.

The point needs to be made that the construction of the Hyatt hotel was shrouded in uncertainty in uncertainty after the decision was handed down by Dr. The Hon. Madam Justice Sonia L. Richards on December 20, 2018.

The question to whom it may concern at Hyatt hotel headquarters- what is the name of the Director of Sales?

Prime Minister Mia Mottley’s Press Conference (1 June 2018

Foolish Freundel and the Ridiculous Barbados Today Story

Click Barbados Today image to read article

David Comissiong Responds to Barbados Today story – BLP PLOT – see this February 2012 PEP Press Release:

 

PEOPLES EMPOWERMENT PARTY

AFTER SKEETE’S BAY, BROWNE’S BEACH IS NEXT IN LINE!

As a result of a protest launched by Mac Fingall, Stedson Wiltshire, and other residents of St Philip, the eyes of the Barbadian people are fixed on Skeete’s Bay!

But the Peoples Empowerment Party (PEP) wishes to warn the citizens of Barbados that an even more prominent and culturally important beach is in danger of being taken away from native Barbadians and turned into an enclave for wealthy, white North American and European tourists! We refer to none other than Brown’s Beach – the world famous Browne’s Beach that extends across the length of Carlisle Bay in the parish of St Michael.

All Barbadians know Browne’s Beach. It is reputed to be one of the finest beaches in the world, and, along with Brandon’s Beach, is the beach of choice of the black, working-class people of Barbados.

It is also a beach that is famous in the native literature of Barbados. Our very own national poet laureate – Kamau Brathwaite – virtually grew up on Browne’s beach, and was so shaped by this experience that Browne’s Beach became the spiritual and cultural source and centre of a number of his most important poems.

Go to Browne’s Beach any time of the day and any day of the week, and you will find hundreds of black Barbadians communing with each other, and enjoying this magnificent and priceless component of their birth-right. Indeed, many Barbadians will tell you that Browne’s Beach is their health spa and doctor combined together, for it is the place where they escape from the stresses of life and rejuvenate their spirits.

It is against this background that we in the PEP were recently shocked to learn that one or more business consultants are currently engaged in developing a plan to offer up Browne’s Beach as the location for a number of foreign, brand-name hotel companies to construct opulent five star hotels on this most loved of Barbadian beaches!

The President of the PEP has actually spoken to one of the consultants, and heard the same type of unedifying and self-serving rationalizations that the Canadian capitalist – Paul Doyle – has advanced in relation to the Skeete’s Bay project. According to these people, we Barbadians should be willing to let go of national assets like Browne’s Beach because we are dependent on foreign exchange, and foreign companies are well equipped to market their properties internationally and to bring additional thousands of precious tourists to our shores.

All of these capitalist businessmen talk as though the people of Barbados only exist on the material plane – as though we Barbadians are similar to pigs whose only purpose in life is to be fattened! They all seem to overlook that we are human beings with spiritual, cultural and psychological yearnings and needs!

Well, before this private sector driven idea of turning over Browne’s Beach to “foreign brand-name hotels” gets any further, the PEP is hereby firing a warning shot across the bow of our Ministry of Tourism, and indeed, across the bow of the entire Cabinet. And we are telling them that Browne’s Beach is much too sacred to the native people of Barbados for us to stand idly by and permit it to become an alien zone that is effectively off limits to us.

As it is, we Barbadian people are already sharing Browne’s Beach with a sizeable number of North American and European tourists. And we are happy to do so. But a balance must be maintained, and Browne’s Beach must never be permitted to become one of your typical West Coast beaches – beaches that native Barbadians feel no longer belong to them!

Furthermore, the time has come when we Barbadians must consciously set out to take firm control of our nation, and mould it in accordance with our own ideas, needs and predilections.

We have been operating hotels in Barbados for over 200 years now, and we know about the hotel and tourism industry. We don’t need any foreign tutelage! Let us therefore resolve that future hotel and tourism development will, as far as possible, be based in the construction of locally owned hotels, guest houses and related facilities that radiate the unique culture and hospitality of Barbados and Barbadians.

Thus, if there is to be any further tourism related development along Browne’s Bay, let us ensure that it is owned by and evocative of Barbadians. And let Brown’s Beach always remain a place where Barbadians feel at home!

DAVID A. COMISSIONG

President

Rock Hard Cement, Hyatt Hotel, Villages at Coverley AND Mark Maloney

At the BCCI luncheon in November 2017 Mia Mottley- the featured speaker- shocked many with the revelation that one company (individual) in Barbados was able to secure ONE BILLION dollars in government contracts. The company (individual) is Preconco (Mark Maloney) of course.

Those who traverse the ABC highway airport stretch cannot help but notice the many houses at different stages of construction. A reminder this is a failed Mark Maloney project.

Those who have reason to travel by the proposed Hyatt Hotel location on Lower Broad Street all that is visible are two Robinson Crusoe like thatched huts. Clearly the contentious Hyatt hotel will not be completed during the tenure of the incumbent government. Another Mark Maloney project the government has been unable to mobilize.

Another contentious Mark Maloney initiative is the area located on the Barbados Port Authority compound where Mark Maloney stores his Rock Hard cement. As far as the BU household is aware a stop order was issued by the Barbados Courts for Mark Maloney to cease and desist from constructing the shelter where rock hard cement is being stored. To the surprise of many BU observed recently that Mark Maloney has continued construction of the storage area. Did the court give Maloney permission (in secret?)

Should Barbadians be fine with one man securing so many projects?

 

Barbados Courts Delivers Double Whammy to Government

Submitted by Mark Jones

Justice Cornelius (l) next to BLP candidate and husband Ralph Thorne (r)

IF YOU WANT JUSTICE STAY OUT OF WHITEPARK ROAD. WHEN WIVES WHO ARE JUDGES GIVE DECISIONS TO ENHANCE HER HUSBAND’S POLITICAL CHANCES OF WINNING.THE JUDICIAL SYSTEM IS IN DIRE NEED OF AN OVERHAUL.

The talk around town this week was about the double whammy the Government got in the same day with two important decision going against them.

The Government lost the Hyatt case against Comissiong and they lost the case with the BIDC. The Bees in the bar were gloating about the licks Hal Gollop and Michael Yearwood got in the two cases but a man in the crowd thought the whole thing was very suspicious to him. He thought it was a STRANGE COINCIDENCE that the two cases could be decided on the same afternoon one after the other. He said he was waiting to get his hand on the BIDC decision but he had seen a copy of a decision his friend had in the Hyatt case and could not understand how the judge Dr Sonia Richards could arrive at the decision she gave; all the reasoning pointed to the fact that she should have ruled against Commisiong being allowed to contest the case but she held otherwise. He also said that it was clear to him from the manner in which the judgment criticises itself that at least two different persons wrote the decision.

The other case was before Cornelius, the wife of BLP Politician and Candidate Ralph Thorne!

My man said it appeared to him that the two judges had some agenda other than law and he felt that politics had now raised its head among the judiciary. It is known that Gollop and Yearwood are two Dems lawyers and they had to put the two of them in their place! The man continued that it is now a sad thing for Barbados that people are losing faith in the judiciary. If the judiciary is now engaging in corrupt practices and lawyers are being targeted where will this all end?

Also a very serious and pointed concern has been raised by a senior QC from the region who has also questioned why judge Cornelius did not recluse herself from this very political fuelled case such as this BIDC case being the wife of a BLP Candidate Ralph Thorne?

And it is also being asked why the judge Richards did not recuse herself since she is a known active Methodist!

Relevant Links:

The online paper said Gollop immediately informed that he was appealing the decision but it was noticeable that he did not speak to the press. On the other hand Comissiong was holding forth. The other matter raised was how he could suddenly be questioning every decision the Government takes. The feeling is that can only happen because there is a number of anti government judges sitting in the bench. It is not known if Yearwood will also be appealing his decision but whatever happens these two decisions have raised eyebrows among the public and likely to create serious doubts about the ability of judges on the bench to give a fair decision on the law before them and not which party the person involve support.

The public must be confident that when they go to court that they will be treated fairly but this now seems very suspect!

Important Documents About the Hyatt Hotel for Your (Public) Information

Please find attached hereto extracts from the following Hyatt related documents:-

(1) Memorandum dated 21st April 2016 from the Chief Town Planner to the Permanent Secretary (Defence and Security) in the Prime Minister’s Office outlining concerns that the Barbados National Trust and the Barbados Museum and Historical Society had with the proposal to construct a 15 storey hotel;

(2) A Heritage Impact Assessment that was submitted by the developer. PLEASE  PAY  PARTICULAR  ATTENTION  TO THE  PICTURE  ON  PAGE 3 OF THIS  DOCUMENT depicting  the proposed development in context.

Read full documentsHyatt Important Documents

Why are they so Concerned about a Judge Reviewing the Hyatt Matter?

Submitted by DAVID  COMISSIONG, CITIZEN  OF  BARBADOS

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart

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.

 

They Making (HYATT) Mock Sport at WE!

Submitted by David Comissiong, Citizen Advocate

Mark Maloney – Vision Development Inc

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:-

PUBLIC  CONSULTATION

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.

ADVERTISING

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.

Prime Minister Stuart Deigns to Speak

Will Prime Minister Freundel Stuart

This week the Prime Minister of Barbados Freundel Stuart deign to address an issue which has been of concern to many Barbadians. It is an open secret David Comissiong’s challenge  of the decision to grant approval to Mark Maloney of Vision Development Inc to build the Hyatt Centric Resort on Bay Street reported to cost USD100 million has rubbed the Barbados government the wrong way. Minister Denis Kellman has declared Comissiong an enemy of the state. Minister Donville Inniss has dived in with his usual rhetoric by stating he would, if he had the time, stand in protest outside  David Comissiong’s place of work. It is ironic to note that our laws support Kellman’s labelling of Comissiong as an enemy of the statement as well as Inniss’ bluster to protest outside Comissiong’s office.

Prime Minister Stuart’s response to the Hyatt issue is interesting. He seems to be of the view that citizen advocate David Comissiong’s application for a judicial review is not supported by the law. We say to Stuart if he believes such is the case why not let the Court decide where the matter has been delayed a hearing because of the unavailability of the judge?  In the matter of Michael Carrington withholding clients funds from a client your response was to advise him to seek redress in the form of acquiring legal counsel. Why not be consistent and allow the legal apparatus to work for Comissiong who has followed the advice you gave to Michael Carrington who stole- or more euphemistically- withheld $244,000 dollars from a wheelchair bound septuagenarian?

BU’s position is a matter of public record. The attack on citizen advocate David Comissiong’s right to access the laws of Barbados by members of the Cabinet of Barbados is the issue BU will steadfastly defend.  In fact, we go further to question why the large cadre of lawyers registered to operate in Barbados have up to now avoided the opportunity their training affords them to be ideal citizen advocates. In a democracy it is critical for citizens to organize to pressure the “establishment” and to date the legal fraternity has been delinquent as a group.

The position prime minster Stuart has taken to question the legal grounding of Comissiong’s judicial review application was made the more interesting by a recent decision handed down by Privy Council  of England in the matter originating from Trinidad & Tobago Reginald Dumas v Police Service Commission on the right of the High Court to hear an application by a citizen to interpret a provision of the Constitution. The gist of the Privy Council’s decision is that there is merit under the law to entertain an application from a citizen if it was deemed in the public interest.

What does the Barbados law support Mr. Prime Minister?

We note that you have not quoted any law to support your position and until you do it will be punished with laughter by onlookers. It must gnaw at your innards that Comissiong wrestled the amendment to the Immigration (Biometrics) Regulation 2015 to the ground and he now has the Hyatt project in his sight. The pressure you and members of the government must be absorbing from those who are demanding a return on the 2013 campaign financing contribution must dig deep.

Here is the link to the Reginald Dumas v Police Service Commission report – Appointments to Police Service Commission …DUMAS WINS AT PRIVY COUNCIL

David Comissiong Branded Enemy of the State

David Comissiong – Citizen Advocate

“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. 

DRAFT PHYSICAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN CALLS FOR IMPACT ASSESSMENTS –HYATT HOTEL TO BE BUILT WITHOUT IMPACT ASSESSMENT STUDIES

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

 

 

News Media Invited to Ask Permission to Attend Hyatt Interlocutory Hearing in Chambers

The Honourable Mr. Justice Randall Worrell

Dear Members of the Media,

As you would be aware, the hearing of my Interlocutory Application for an Interim Order suspending the grant of permission to Mr. Mark Maloney’s company pending the full hearing of my Judicial Review application, is scheduled to be held in the Chambers of Justice Randall Worrell at 9:30AM on Tuesday 25th April 2017.

Under the Constitution of Barbados, all legal proceedings are to be open to the public unless there is some special reason for excluding members of the public (inclusive of members of the news media). There is no reason why members of the news media should be excluded from the hearing tomorrow. In fact, I would welcome the idea of having members of the media present in the Judge’s Chambers tomorrow morning to hear and report upon the proceedings in this case that has such great public import.

In the circumstances, I would like to suggest that one or more manager (s) of the various media houses approach Justice Worrell for permission for representatives of the news media to attend the hearing in his Chambers tomorrow morning.

David Comissiong

David Comissiong Responds to Sinckler and Inniss and their Demagoguery

Submitted by DAVID  ANDRE  COMISSIONG

Ministers Donville Inniss and Chris Sinckler

Perhaps Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler  and Minister of Industry Donville Inniss could explain to us Barbadians how the process of having Mr Mark Maloney construct a  hotel at Bay Street, St Michael would boost Barbados’ reserves of foreign exchange.

It would seem to me that Mr Maloney would be likely to use up and further deplete Barbados’ reserves of foreign exchange during the process of constructing his hotel, since most of the construction material that he would be using would be imported into Barbados and would therefore have to be purchased with our scarce foreign exchange.

Any possible foreign exchange earnings from such a project would clearly be several years down the road, if and when the hotel gets up and going and is able to attract additional foreign tourists to our Island.

Furthermore, it is factually incorrect to suggest that I, David Comissiong, have had Maloney’s project put on hold by way of a High Court injunction. Rather, what I have done is to ask a Judge of the Supreme Court of Barbados to subject the grant of permission to Maloney’s company to a process of JUDICIAL  REVIEW.

The facts are as follows:-

In July 2016 Mr. Mark Maloney made a public statement  asserting that he would be commencing the construction of a 15 storey Hyatt hotel in September 2016 .

I then responded to Maloney’s statement by writing  to BOTH the Chief Town Planner and the Minister Responsible for Town and Country Planning (Mr Freundel Stuart) expressing consternation at Maloney’s statement, and asserting that the Law of the land demanded that Maloney’s application be subjected to a physical and social “Environmental Impact Assessment” (EIA).

Needless to say, I received no response from either the Chief Town Planner or the Minister — not even a letter of acknowledgement of receipt of my letter !

Furthermore, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart — the Minister Responsible for Town and Country Planning — ultimately went ahead and simply granted Maloney’s company permission to construct their 15 storey hotel without having the benefit of the findings of an Environmental Impact Assessment to guide and inform him in the making of his decision.

It is against this background that I decided that it had become necessary to have a Judge of the Supreme Court of Barbados examine the manner in which Mr Stuart had dealt with the application of Maloney’s company, and determine whether Stuart’s decision was lawfully made. This legal procedure is known as JUDICIAL  REVIEW and it is provided for by the Administrative Justice Act, Chapter 109 B of the Laws of Barbados.

It needs to be noted that under the Laws of Barbados there is a category of construction projects that require the carrying out of an Environmental Impact Assessment “BEFORE” any permission can be granted for them to go ahead. And this is so because these projects possess the potential to do serious damage to the precious physical and social environment of our country.

It is therefore in the best interest of our country to have a Judge of the Supreme Court examine Mr Maloney’s project and its implications for the physical , social, cultural and heritage environment of Barbados, and determine whether the manner in which the Application for the project was processed by the Minister was in compliance with the standards and procedures required by the Laws of Barbados.  This is what the Application for Judicial Review that I filed in the Court on the 22nd March 2017 is all about.

I also subsequently filed an Interlocutory Application requesting that the Court grant an INTERIM  ORDER suspending the Grant of Permission to Maloney’s company  until the Court can hear and make a decision on the JUDICIAL  REVIEW application. This request for an INTERIM  ORDER is in keeping with Section 72 of the Town and Country Planning Act of Barbados. However, this Interlocutory Application has not yet been dealt with by the Supreme Court of Barbados.

Furthermore, Mr Stuart, the Minister Responsible for Town and Country Planning, has indicated that he is opposing the request for an INTERIM  ORDER suspending the grant of permission to Maloney’s company while the Court carries out the process of JUDICIAL  REVIEW.

Thus, as of today’s date, the grant of permission to Maloney’s company still remains in effect, and, to the best of my knowledge, Maloney is continuing to do work on the Bay Street site.

Ultimately, a Supreme Court judge will review this entire matter and will determine whether the permission that was granted to Maloney’s company was lawfully or unlawfully granted. If it is determined that the permission was not lawfully granted, one would then expect the Court to quash the decision and the permission.

EXPLAINING THE CONCEPT OF "JUDICIAL REVIEW" : THE HYATT CASE

Submitted by David Andre Comissiong, Citizen Advocate

The Claim or Application that was filed in the Supreme Court of Barbados on the 22nd of March 2017 entitled “David Andre Comissiong  v  Freundel Stuart, Minister Responsible for Town and Country Planning” constitutes an application for “Judicial Review” of the legality (or lack thereof) of the process by which the Minister Responsible for Town and Country Planning purported to grant permission to construct a 15 storey hotel on beachfront land at Bay Street, St. Michael.

However, it is clear to me from a number of the questions that have been posed to me since the filing of the Claim on 22nd March 2017 that there is not a very good popular understanding of this extremely important legal proceeding known as “Judicial Review”.

Basically, the power of “Judicial Review” is the power that the Supreme Court possesses to exercise scrutiny and control over the procedures that subordinate bodies (such as Ministers of Government and heads of Government departments) are required by law to undertake when exercising their decision-making and other functions.

Thus, in the case in question, the Barbadian citizen known as David Andre Comissiong has simply requested a Judge of the Supreme Court of Barbados to examine and scrutinize the process that the Minister Responsible for Town and Country Planning applied to the making of his decision to grant the permission in question, in order to determine whether the Minister adhered to all of the applicable rules and regulations.

The legal procedure known as “Judicial Review” is governed by the Administrative Justice Act, Chapter 109 B of the Laws of Barbados, and gives the Supreme Court the power to scrutinize and exercise control over any “administrative act or omission” of a “Minister, public official, tribunal, board, committee or other authority of the Government of Barbados exercising……. any power or duty conferred or imposed by the Constitution (of Barbados) or by any (statutory) enactment.”

And under Section 6 of the Act, the Court is empowered to entertain applications for Judicial Review that are made by any person “whose interests are adversely affected by an administrative act or omission” or “any other person, if the Court is satisfied that that person’s application is justifiable in the public interest.”

The background to my filing this particular Application for Judicial Review is that in August 2016 — after Mr. Mark Maloney had made a public statement asserting that the construction of a 15 storey Hyatt hotel would be commencing in September 2016 — I wrote to BOTH the Chief Town Planner and the Minister Responsible for Town and Country Planning expressing consternation at Maloney’s statement, and asserting that the Law of the land demanded that Maloney’s application be subjected to a physical and social “Environmental Impact Assessment” (EIA).

Needless to say, I received no response from either the Chief Town Planner or the Minister — not even a letter of acknowledgement of receipt of my letter!

Furthermore, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart — the Minister Responsible for Town and Country Planning — ultimately went ahead and simply granted Maloney’s company permission to construct their 15 storey hotel without having the benefit of the findings of an Environmental Impact Assessment to guide and inform him in the making of his decision.

It is against this background that I decided that it had become necessary to have a Judge of the Supreme Court of Barbados examine the manner in which Mr Stuart had dealt with the application of Maloney’s company, and determine whether Stuart’s decision was lawfully made.

It needs to be noted that there is a category of construction projects that require the carrying out of an Environmental Impact Assessment “before” any permission can be granted for them to go ahead. And this is so because these projects possess the potential to do serious damage to the precious physical and social environment of our beloved country.

It is therefore in the best interest of our country to have a Judge of the Supreme Court examine Mr Maloney’s project and its implications for the physical , social, cultural and heritage environment of Barbados, and determine whether the manner in which the Application for the project was processed by the Minister was in compliance with the standards and procedures required by the Laws of Barbados.