Lawsuit could stall Hyatt project

The controversial Hyatt Centric Resort seems set to face a legal hurdle that would likely delay even further, the start of the US$100 million hotel project.

One day after Prime Minister Freundel Stuart all but guaranteed he would grant permission for construction of the 12-storey property on Lower Bay Street, The City, social activist David Comissiong signalled his intention to carry out his threat to seek a court injunction stopping any work from taking place.

Comissiong has maintained from the very beginning that an environmental impact assessment must be held, to include widespread public input, an issue Stuart did not address when he announced at the luncheon meeting of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) that he “expect to be in a position to give planning permission” for the project within a week “by which time all of the outstanding preconditions would have been satisfied”.

Comissiong told Barbados TODAY the Prime Minister’s decision was premature and possibly illegal and he would decide on a lawsuit by the weekend.

“When I looked at it I came away convinced that there was a legal requirement for an environmental impact assessment, inclusive of a consultation with the public . . . with the people of Barbados. Of course, as a lawyer, if you are going to contemplate filing something in court, you would do your homework; you would go over it, you would go through it in great detail and apply great scrutiny to it,” the project’s most vocal critic explained.

The attorney-at-law contended that the required town hall meetings, notifications and consultations with residents had not taken place, insisting Government had an obligation to the people of Barbados to solicit their views of a project of this nature.

“In 2017, any Town & Country Planning Department or any Minister with responsibility for Town & Country Planning when an application for a major project of this nature is made, has a duty to carry out an environmental impact assessment, and a critical component of any environmental impact assessment that is worth its salt is consultation with the people. That is notification of the people, the holding of town hall meetings . . . and none of this is new to Barbadians. Regularly, where there are applications for major projects in Barbados, town hall meetings are held so that the people can have a say. What is so different with Mr Maloney’s application?” he asked in reference to developer Mark Maloney, who is one of the major players behind the project.

The outspoken Comissiong, who last year successfully sued Government over plans to fingerprint travelling Barbadians, accused the Prime Minister of having  “utter contempt” for those living near the site of the planned high rise towers and the thousands of people who use the adjoining Browne’s Beach.

He also said Stuart believed he was living in the Barbados of 100 years ago when ordinary people did not have rights.

“I have said that this decision is wrong. It is politically wrong, it is sociologically wrong, it is procedurally wrong, it is ethically wrong and I believe it is also legally wrong.

“The fact that the Prime Minister would make a decision on a major application of this nature – an application to construct a 15-storey hotel on one of the most prized beaches of the Barbadian people – suggests that the Prime Minister has utter contempt for the ordinary people of Barbados. I say this because the Prime Minister has not consulted with the people of Barbados,” he reiterated.

Comissiong, along with the National Trust, has opposed the project on environmental grounds, with the trust fearing Barbados could lose its UNESCO World Heritage designation.

However, supporters have long contended that it would bring more life to Bridgetown and the surrounding areas and would become a springboard for more projects of its kind.

9 Responses to Lawsuit could stall Hyatt project

  1. vad50 January 27, 2017 at 9:36 am

    It is amazing that you will be willing to delay a project; which will open employment opportunities for Barbadians.

  2. foxmouth January 27, 2017 at 11:12 am

    It is sad that people who want you to believe they are for the masses will try to prevent employment opportunities and investment because they are against the government of the day. Does having a UNESCO World heritage designation helps the economy

  3. Nathaniel Samuels January 27, 2017 at 11:27 am

    Amazing yes, but what about the necessary procedures that need to be entertained? do we just get up and decide we will have something built without the input of people who might be affected? If the project is so important for Bridgetown and the country, there shouldn’t be any problem doing the necessary checks. I would love to see the city developed but let us do it in an open manner.

  4. Donild Trimp January 27, 2017 at 12:59 pm

    OK Mr. Commissiong, kill the entire project and start afresh.

    Start by knocking down all those dilapidated houses and buildings on lower Broad Street and build the hotel project from the inland side.

    Leave the pristine beach front as it is.

  5. Mikey January 27, 2017 at 4:57 pm

    Bajans are so accustomed to breaking rules and regulations that people get killed and no big thing.
    Remember the fellas who went down into wells and either suffocated, got knocked out by toxic gasses etc ???
    Build the Hotel within the standard of the UNESCO requirements and all will be well.
    Commissiong is RIGHT – The Rules should be followed.

    If Government and Politicians break rules then what do we expect jrsmith, Hal, Anonymous, Webster and Others to do ???

  6. Sheron Inniss January 27, 2017 at 6:54 pm

    What is good for Peter is good for Paul. I agree with Mr Comissiong. There are two systems in Bim. Those who say differently must think we are all fools.

  7. hcalndre January 27, 2017 at 11:23 pm

    Just start building because Fruendel say so, if Comissiong did not fight that finger printing thing that was not even legislated, people would be lined up like sheep to be finger printed. When I hear that host on radio was all for it and the bajans that found nothing wrong with the idea because they say they don`t have anything to hide and that the US does it which I can`t recall. The ones that was for it instead of their finger, it should be their heads that should be printed.

  8. Tony Waterman January 28, 2017 at 4:25 am

    @vad50!!!! At ANY Cost ???? Look at Hawaii and see what these International Corporations have done to That Beautiful Couintry, all it is Now is a Concrete Jungle, is that what you want for our 166 Sq Mi Rock ????

  9. lreta king January 28, 2017 at 11:15 am

    The government needs to stop the nonsense why is it wanted to skip and dance to the tune of outsiders.
    Barbados will become a concrete jungle a place where no one would want to visit anymore.

    Stop the building protect your island and tell these investors to go and build in their own back yard.

    I’m slowly loosing my love for the island the government is making it an ugly place all because it is mentally lazy of thinking of other ways to bring in money – but yet again money isn’t everything.


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