Let the court decide
by Roy R. Morris
Incensed by some of the messages of “counter demonstrators”, residents affected by the operation of B’s Recycling at Cane Garden, St. Thomas are preparing to take both the company and the Government to court.
Member of Parliament for St. Thomas, Cynthia Forde, who led neighbours and their supporters in a more than one-hour protest on Saturday morning, accompanied by attorney at law Gregory Nicholls, said all legal options were not being explored.
After describing the protest as a successful first step towards the forced relocation of the recycling operation, the scene of a massive fire almost a month ago, Forde said given what they saw as the insensitivity of management, they now had no choice but to go further.
“The residents have indicated they would want to meet again and we will come together on Wednesday evening and we will discuss the very next step,” Forde told Barbados TODAY.
“Because if we had seen before what we witnesses this morning in that there appears to have been a whole lot of cleaning, mopping up and manicuring at the plant last night and early this morning – if efforts were made like that two years ago, six months ago, we would never have had this tragedy.
“And to me, since they can come to counter our march this morning with their own placards, including some derogatory remarks, we are now looking at legal representation… And I can speak to that forcefully, because we were only pausing to see if management would have been mannerly enough, and compassionate enough to come to the residents who have been negatively impacted and say ‘We have made some mistakes; we apologize!’
“Don’t tell us via the media ‘I sorry for the school children and Bizzy Williams and them’, because the school children don’t live in Reece Road, Bizzy Williams doesn’t live in Reece Road – they have not had to endure it all day long and all night long…
“We are dealing with people here who have invested in four-acre and two-acre lots exclusively under the Physical Development Plan for agriculture…, and when you have a commercial entity that has expanded from four acres to 14 acres where they were never given Town Planning permission in the first place … it can’t work so. We demand our rights, respect and to be allowed to breathe clean fresh air like everybody else.”
Forde was supported by Nicholls, who also demonstrated with the residents. He said: “The first point that has to be established is that the business that is being carried on here at Cane Garden has no planning permission. It falls afoul of the Physical Development plan allotment for the area.
“It is also causing a significant nuisance in the law, and therefore property owners have the right to sue in private nuisance for any substantial interference with the enjoyment of their property.
“So the members are considering what types of action they can bring; whether we would have to bring it in public law, since there is a state implication involved…”
Nicholls added: “Certainly the plant has to go since it has no right in a residential/agricultural area. The kind of commercial operation they want to operate cannot take place without the appropriate environmental impact assessment first, and then once the business has established what it wants to do it has under the law to have an environmental management plan, which would integrate the concerns of the residents and [the other people who operate in the vicinity] so that in the event of an emergency everybody in the area would know exactly what they have to do in a way that would minimise loss and damage. And that has not happened…
“And as said by Ms. Forde, to make the argument that they are earning foreign exchange is to miss the crux of the point all together. We have to do things in an orderly way. We plan things in Barbados and there is a planning process that integrates everyone in a way that everyone is comfortable.
“To say that you are earning foreign exchange or that you are saving the environment or that you are creating jobs does not mean that people who live in an area must suffer as a result of your enterprise.” firstname.lastname@example.org