Sinckler contradicts Inniss on Hyatt hotel
Two ministers in the Freundel Stuart administration have made opposing pronouncements regarding planning permission for the controversial Hyatt Centric hotel proposed for Carlisle Bay, Bay Street, St Michael.
While Minister of International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development Donville Inniss recently insisted that Town and Country Planning had granted approval, Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler today said that the application was still being processed and the project was not yet a go.
Sinckler also insisted that neither he nor Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy had ever said or implied that the development had already been given the green light from planning. Furthermore, he said, the developers had made it clear they were awaiting permission.
“In fact, they specifically said – because that question was asked – once the regulatory permissions have been granted, then the hotel is likely to start within two to three months. That is what they said. So I don’t know where this thing has come from that anybody has said that permission was granted,” he told the media on the sidelines of the official opening of a fifth Burger King outlet at Warrens, St Michael.
During his contribution to the recent debate on the 2016 Financial Statement and Budgetary Proposals, Inniss had stoutly rejected claims by Opposition Member of Parlament for The City Colonel Jeffrey Bostic that the hotel’s developers had not been given planning permission to construct the 15-storey Hyatt. He told the legislature that permission had been granted with conditions, and those were appealed and were being addressed “at the highest level”. Today, Sinckler said he was not aware of what conditions the developer was asked to meet. However, he said, he knew the application process was underway.
“As far as I know, an application went in, the application is being processed and until such time that process is completed, nobody can say that it is all go, and that is why the developers said at the meeting, at the press conference, [that] when all regulatory permissions are granted, we will proceed with the construction,” the minister said.
“They were asked how long, they said ‘we don’t know, but it could happen in two months time if we were to be given the permissions right away’. Obviously right away didn’t mean that you would turn up tomorrow morning and receive them, but in reasonable time.”
The proposed Hyatt hotel is facing stiff opposition from social activist and attorney-at-law David Comissiong who has written to the Chief Town Planner threatening legal action against the investors if the project were not subjected to a comprehensive environmental impact assessment.
While Sinckler did not call Comissiong by name, he charged that there were people who were using the issue for political gain. But he said he was unmoved.
“So all of this unnecessary excitement by some people who believe they can hide behind certain notions of activism to execute their political agenda in Barbados, which is aligned to that of the Barbados Labour Party, does not bother me . . . it does not bother me in the least,” he declared.