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Gov't sued

Government has been sued over a Cabinet decision agreeing that B’s Recycling could relocate its operations from Cane Garden, St. Thomas to Crown lands at the Bagatelle Metal Dump in the same parish.

Today, attorneys Kerrie Symmonds and Gregory Nicholls, filed a claim in the Supreme Court of Barbados on behalf of six residents of the Bagatelle area, asking the court for a judicial review in the public interest and for it to rule that the decision of the Cabinet was unlawful, void and of no legal effect and should therefore be quashed.

The suit is against the Attorney-General as first defendant, along with the Minister responsible for Planning, – the Prime Minister, the Minister of Housing and Lands and the Minister of the Environment and Drainage.

The application for a judicial review filed in court, noted that on March 8, 2012 it was agreed by the Cabinet that the Government of Barbados should seek to enter into an agreement with B’s Recyling for the operation of the same recycling and waste re-use facility at Bagatelle, on condition that the company submit a Relocation and Operation Plan acceptable to the Ministry of Environment and Drainage and the Town Planning Department.

Symmonds and Nicholls gave reporters copies of the claim during a news conference this afternoon, which also revealed another condition that B’s Recycling should bear all costs for the operation of the Bagatelle facility and that it should continue to be available to receive the types of materials currently received at the Cane Garden outlet.

A third condition which the court document showed that Cabinet placed on B’s, was that it should come to an agreement with the Ministry of Housing and Lands on the transfer of a portion of land in the area of River Bay, St. Lucy, of an acceptable size and location.

Barbados TODAY obtained a copy of a memorandum bearing the signature of the Chief Town Planner to the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Environment and Drainage and dated June 4, 2012 which made specific reference to “an extract from the confirmed minutes of a meeting of the Cabinet held on March, 8, 2012”.

That memo was especially concerned with the portion of the minutes which stated “B’s Recycling should submit a Relocation Operation Plan acceptable to the Ministry of Environment and Drainage and the Town Planning Department.”

“The Chief Town Planner felt it was necessary to express the concerns of the Town and Country Development Planning Department,” the document noted.

The letter to the Permanent Secretary pointed out that the relocation of B’s to Bagatelle constituted development and hence required express planning permission.

It also said that the Relocation Operation plan referred to in the Cabinet paper, apart from being unclear, bore no relevance to the planning process.

The memo also said that B’s would require an environmental management plan as one condition, if planning permission was granted after the proposal had been thoroughly assessed, that B’s must formally apply for permission and should not commence any operations on site, until such approval has been granted.

The document insisted, too, that Bagatelle, being a waste disposal site, required the submission of an Environmental Impact Assessment.

Part of the memo read, “Regrettably, the Chief Town Planner was not asked to comment on the Cabinet paper prior to its submission. Had this been done, some of the discrepancies which now arise, could have been addressed. The Chief Town Planner would appreciate being consulted on similar matters in the future, prior to the submission of the Cabinet paper.”

A letter bearing the signature of Acting Manager of the Sanitation Service Authority, Stanton Alleyne, addressed to the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Housing and Lands and dated May 16, 2012, recorded that the SSA had expressed concern about the agreement to relocate B’s to Bagatelle.

One of the main concerns was that as far back as November, 2008, the Ministry of Housing had been notified of a series of residential and commercial property encroachments within and around the disposal site at Bagatelle.

The SSA has listed a number of concerns including the possible environmental impact the operation of the Bagatelle facility would have on residents. (EJ)

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