Hotel limbo

Comissiong triggers suspension of multi-million project

After receiving the conditional go-ahead last month, the proposed $100 million Hyatt hotel development earmarked for Bay Street, St Michael and on which Government has been banking much economic hope, is now back in limbo.

Wednesday, the Supreme Court set aside May 9 as the date for the hearing of a fixed date claim, filed with the Registrar this afternoon by attorney-at-law David Comissiong.

A confident-looking Comissiong, supported only by former parliamentarian Mark Williams, ascended the steps of the High Court promptly at 1 p.m. Wednesday to lodge the legal challenge to the construction, which, after several delays, won approval on February 15 from Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, who has responsibility for Town & Country Planning.

The latest development, which results in immediate suspension of permission until the matter is heard by the court, therefore comes as a major blow for both the developers and Government, who have been eager to get the project going, amid domestic economic challenges.

Former parliamentarian Mark Williams (left) was on hand to offer support to attorney-at-law David Comissiong (right) when he arrived at the Supreme Court Wednesday afternoon.

However, speaking to reporters immediately after filing the claim, Comissiong was adamant that the Prime Minister had acted incorrectly on the matter.

He also said he would file an urgent interim order as early as tomorrow in support of his legal claim, which is based on 12 grounds. These include the failure to have public consultations or to carry out an environmental impact assessment (EIA) on the multi-million dollar beachfront development, he told reporters gathered at the Clement Payne Centre on Crumpton Street, The City.

The outspoken attorney and social activist also dismissed recent arguments by Chief Town Planner Mark Cummins that there was no need for an EIA on Hyatt, since one was previously done for a similar development in the area.

“What I gather from what was said is that ten years ago there was an application by some other entity to construct a hotel at some different site along Bay Street and that the entity was required to carry out an environmental impact assessment.

“If that is the case, then it establishes that a project of this nature requires an environmental impact assessment,” Comissiong argued.

“An EIA done by somebody else for some other project ten years ago cannot be Mr Maloney’s EIA. That is incorrect,” he stressed, in reference to developer Mark Maloney, whose involvement in the project is another sore point for Comissiong.

However, he expressed confidence that any of his 12 grounds could stand up in court, while questioning the legitimacy of the Prime Minister’s determination on the project, given that there is currently no Town & Country Planning Advisory Committee in existence, as required under Section 1 of the First Schedule of the Town & Country Planning Act.

The attorney also argued that Stuart had relied on an outdated Physical Development Plan, even though Section 11 (1) of the Town & Country Planning Act stipulates that the plan, which is now 14 years old, must be updated every five years.

“Ground three [of the claim] states that not only was the minister supposed to have regard for the Physical Development Plan, but since [the Hyatt project] is a coastal development, he also was obligated to have regard for the Coastal Zone Management Plan of Barbados.

“The law also says that similar to the Physical Development Plan, the Coastal Zone Management Plan of Barbados is to be updated every five years [but] again this was not done.

“So one of the good things that is going to come out of this case is that it is going to reveal that the authorities in Barbados have not been adhering to the regulations that require them to update these plans,” Comissiong told reporters.

He also took issue with the 15-storey elevation, pointing out that the maximum height allowed for beachfront hotels was five storeys, compared to the seven storeys for non-beachfront tourist accommodation.

Comissiong further noted that over the years applications for developments above the stipulated elevation were consistently turned down on the grounds that “such structures would negatively affect the visual amenity of the locale”.

24 Responses to Hotel limbo

  1. Hewers of wood March 23, 2017 at 1:17 am

    Go David.

  2. Nathaniel Samuels March 23, 2017 at 1:42 am

    Me thinks David got Goliath by the goolies. Very well reasoned grounds and even this layman here therefore has to support the battle-ready and battle-hardened Comissiong.

  3. Jennifer March 23, 2017 at 1:56 am

    David you have to watch the arrows of BOHEMOTH.

  4. Jennifer March 23, 2017 at 2:05 am

    Just as the coast lines of barbados is almost fully boxed up by the 1%, it is the same way that the masses are also boxed up in every way by the same people all nice and pretty, like a gift.

  5. Carlile Norville March 23, 2017 at 6:57 am

    yes mr: Comissiong ,you have to be carefull dont be afraid just remember people like( Elliot Belgrave)are big boys in de lodge ,& stuart & dem connected. I pray the Heavenly Powers will protect you.continue to STAND up for the RIGHT.!

  6. chris hill March 23, 2017 at 7:22 am

    this is very correct. and reading the other comments that mr. Comminsong should be looking over his back are wrong. fellow commentors this attitude is what got us in this position in the first place, stand up for what is right even if it causes you personal harm. the EIA report is essential especially when there are plans for t least one offshore island planed for the Bay. This will change the very Browns Beach that we love so much and is frequented by so many locals and visitors alike.

  7. Jim Webster March 23, 2017 at 7:33 am

    Based on the recent on-line reaction to Sandals expansion onto what was formally Dover Woods, I would think an EIA would be in everyone’s best interest. Without one you are proceeding at your own peril.

  8. Alex Alleyne March 23, 2017 at 8:09 am

    Gloves on,this is all about DAVID vs FREUNDEL. Nothing to do with window to the sea for the bajan people or BIM itself.
    WHO IS PAYING COURT FEES ????????????????. I do hope it’s not the tax payers.

  9. Waiting March 23, 2017 at 8:13 am

    Somehow I am scared of seeing a 15 storey building looking down at me when I pass Bay Street. WOW! We can do with the hotel but not there and especially that height.

  10. Ric March 23, 2017 at 9:12 am

    Chupse, build the blinking thing and let people get some work.

  11. Helicopter(8P) March 23, 2017 at 10:21 am

    Now here I see that Honorable Members of the Barbados Senate are on extended long vacation, and must have been enjoying the Atlantic sea breezes during this course of time, if I’m to believe what written in the above mentioned.

  12. Donild Trimp March 23, 2017 at 11:00 am

    Build the thing on the inland side with walkovers as access to the beach and put the people to work. Jobs are important.

    This EIA is both good and bad depending on the circumstances.

    Some non-nonsensical decisions were made in the past in other countries where structures could not be built because the habitat of a bird classified as an endangered species would be destroyed.

  13. Milli Watt March 23, 2017 at 12:08 pm

    bout time. give dem hell DAVID!!!!!!!

  14. North Point March 23, 2017 at 1:19 pm

    all I am seeing is people like attorney-at-law David Comissiong and Mark ‘smart’ Williams playing that they like dis rock so bad that they will do anything to stop progress in BIM. The question is what are they doing for the country that they say that they love so bad, nothing, I hope that the court just ignore them and let the project go ahead, dem two aint dropping nutten. get out de way fools.

  15. Carol-Ann March 23, 2017 at 2:36 pm

    I am wondering why the supposed Opposition parties have not taken up this fight. Clearly this individual cares about a nation and not self-interest. If not for David Commissiong we would all be fingerprinted at the ports of entry. When you clamour for the almighty dollar in the short-term you will still be left with the fall-out of the long-term costs which are more critical. The fact that the prime minister couldn’t care less about the laws in place and the environmental impact speaks volumes about the sort of person he is and that is UNFIT FOR OFFICE. He has not realized as yet that he is representing a Nation and not himself. If I was UWI I would take back that law degree.

  16. Carson C Cadogan March 23, 2017 at 3:05 pm

    This man is a clear and present danger to Barbados’ prosperity.

  17. greengiant March 23, 2017 at 3:19 pm

    Obstructing economic development, then to say you are for the people of this country. You should be forced to resign your position within the Clement Payne Movement.

    David is nothing more than a black man who grew up feeling he was white, only to realize that his white teenage friends reminded him how black he is when they became adults. Now he constantly struggles to prove his blackness, by fighting any project the white boys have even if it means affecting economic development.

    If you really was about black, working class Barbadians David you would welcome those who had legal business to sort out but had no money. You would advertise pro – bono legal services.

  18. Bradg March 23, 2017 at 3:24 pm

    We need the hotel capacity but rules are there for a reason. If the rules dont make sense they should be changed via the correct process.

  19. Walter Prescod March 23, 2017 at 5:41 pm

    Some people on this site are just cooning. And will do anything for $$$$. And dare not use their real name. Why?
    Take it to them David!

    • jennifer March 23, 2017 at 5:55 pm

      Walter prescod – well said. They were always the ones to watch. The ones that when u try to escape oppression would tell massa on you to keep you there with them. They ate the hog and wore the big pants he fart out..

  20. L King March 23, 2017 at 6:05 pm

    @Ric and Donald Trump: you don’t care about no one but yourselves: you two are disqusting – you’re the sort of people who would pimp out your own daughters.

    I’m proud of Comissiong – he ain’t scared of no one except God and when Comission sees wrong doing he’ll challenge the system.

    If I was living on the island I would join his party for I love my parents homeland and I’m fed up of reading of the ‘sell out’ of the island. It is very similiar to the selling of our ancestors by the African kings and chiefs – for financial gain. And where did it get them – nowhere and their sin has fallen upon their childrens childrens.

  21. L King March 23, 2017 at 6:12 pm


    What do you know about how this fine man thought whilst growing up. You never knew him. You just angry because his got strong guts while you are a begging coward still trying to prove your worth and getting no where.

    Man-up will you and see things for what they really are: then start building a strong foundation in your own life so as to make a good example of integrity honesty love and wisdom for God hates injustice.

  22. L King March 23, 2017 at 6:17 pm

    @Northpoint – not all progression is good. Barbados has ENOUGH hotels ad there are: you sound like one of the proposed contractors of the Hyatt. Why don’t you go and look for work elsewhere.

  23. D.Jones March 24, 2017 at 12:05 pm

    I do not understand what type of thinking is going on.
    There are numerous hotels available at this time and the more that are built the people of St Lucy will have water problems again in future. And how will the sewer system work in an system already breeched this past season
    Also a huge complex as this will only add to to traffic problem that is seen on this route
    We trust that common sense may prevail


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