Rock Hard faces court sanction for disobeying Town Planner
He has blatantly refused the Chief Town Planner’s order for him to ‘cease and desist’ from erecting a cement base at Spring Garden, St Michael.
Now the Town Planner has taken matters into his own hands with the filing today of criminal charges against the Maloney-led Rock Hard Cement Limited.
On the advice of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Charles Leacock, QC, Cummins moved to the District ‘A” Magistrate’s Criminal Court yesterday, where the relevant documents were filed, accusing the cement company of refusing to comply with his recent stop notice, which prohibited any further work at the old Flour Mill site, and ordered the demolition of the concrete structure, which Rock Hard has been using for storage of its imported building materials.
Based on the official court document, hearing of the matter has been set for next Tuesday in the Number 2 Magistrate’s Court.
The document also states that sometime between November 13, 2015 and May 30, 2016, the accused, Rock Hard Cement, “carried out, or caused or permitted the carrying out of construction work and operations thereon, in contravention of the provisions of Section 40B (5) of the Town Planning Act, Chapter 240.”
Under that section, ”any person, being a person in relation to whom a stop notice is in effect, who carries out or continues, or causes or permits to be carried out or continued, any operations prohibited by the notice, is guilty of an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of $1, 000.
Secondly, if the offence is a continuing offence, a fine of $250 can be applied “for each day or part thereof during which the offence is continued after he [the accused] is first convicted.”
Maloney has been refusing to comment publicly on the matter since last week.
However, up to this afternoon, work appeared to be continuing at the Flour Mill site where the offending structure remained in place with hundreds of bags of cement neatly stacked inside.
It was late last month when the Chief Town Planner referred the matter to the DPP, who had initially sent it back to Cummins with undisclosed instructions.
However, the DPP confirmed to Barbados TODAY this afternoon that a final recommendation had been made by him in the matter and that he had issued it to Cummins on Tuesday.
When contacted, Cummins also confirmed that the legal suit had been filed against Rock Hard Cement.
This comes mere days after Prime Minister Freundel Stuart issued a stern word of warning to Barbadians, who appear bent on flouting the orders of the Chief Town Planner.
During a press conference at his official residence, the Prime Minister side stepped the Maloney controversy, while warning however that his Government was prepared to go as far as to enact new laws to ensure compliance with the country’s planning rules.
A stern talking Stuart told journalists at a media luncheon at Ilaro Court last Friday that he was not prepared to “sacrifice the rule of law” to permit Barbadians who willfully took matters into their own hands.
“The Chief Town Planner is a serious public official and what decision he makes, what instructions he gives, have to be complied with,” said Stuart, who was equally adamant that the country’s development must be “ordered” and the rule of law must be followed.
“This is a country that subscribes to the rule of law, not to the rule of fancy and personal preference and so on. I think the message has to go out, not with any intention of making anybody a target, but the message has to go out that the Chief Town Planner is not somebody not clothed in his right mind and the people in the Town Planning Department are not people preoccupied with making people’s lives miserable,” the Prime Minister had insisted.
Maloney has also found himself in Opposition Leader Mia Mottley’s crosshairs in recent weeks.
As she led off debate in the House of Assembly on a no-confidence motion in the Freundel Stuart administration last month, Mottley questioned whether a number of projects undertaken by the developer had been approved by the Town & Country Planning Development Office (TCPDO) before they were actually allowed to get off the ground.
She identified the entrance to the Villages at Coverley off the ABC Highway and the construction of the gas station in the development; Rock Hard Cement operations at the old Flour Mill site; the construction of the Valery housing units in Brittons Hill; and the Bushy Park redevelopment.
In the case of the latter project in St Philip, Mottley had raised questions about a fence and ticket booth being constructed on the old railway track and the construction of the first of five planned clusters of luxury car suites. She had also asked why the gas station in the Villages of Coverley was continuing operations, in defiance of TCPDO’s instructions for the removal of houses within 50 metres of the service station.