Still no settlement in sight to Hyatt case

After ten hours of arguments spread over two days, those involved in the Hyatt Centric legal battle are no closer to a settlement.

A High Court judge today adjourned the hearing until tomorrow, after close to seven hours of legal arguments today.

This after Barry Gale, QC, representing Hyatt developer, the Mark Maloney-led Vision Development Inc, spent three hours last Wednesday trying to convince Justice Sonia Richards at the Supreme Court that attorney-at-law David Comissiong had no legal standing to attempt to stop construction of the US$100 million hotel.

The hearing resumed this morning around 10:30 with Gale completing his arguments, followed by Queens Counsel Hal Gollop, who is representing Prime Minister Freundel Stuart.

Following an over two-hour session the parties broke for lunch, after which Comissiong began presenting his arguments from around 2:40p.m. on why he requested a judicial review of the permission granted by the Prime Minister, in his capacity as Minister responsible for Town & Country Planning, to Maloney’s company to build the 15-storey hotel on Bay Street, The City.

At around 6 p.m. the judge adjourned the hearing until 10:30 a.m. tomorrow, at which time Gale and Gollop will reply to any points that may have emerged from Comissiong’s four-hour presentation.

Barry Gale, QC, David Comissiong and Hal Gollop, QC

Speaking to Barbados TODAY via telephone from Brownes Beach, the proposed site of the controversial hotel, Comissiong maintained he was “looking out for the best interests of Barbadians [by] trying to preserve something that is very valuable and special.

“Having completed my address I went to Brownes Beach. I am by the water’s edge taking in the ambience and beauty of the area. This is what this is all about,” said the political activist, who back in March secured an injunction which immediately suspended the permission granted by Stuart for the hotel’s construction. It is that application by Comissiong that Stuart is challenging, with Maloney also a party to the case.

At the core of Comissiong’s injunction is Government’s decision not to conduct an environmental impact assessment on the
multi-million dollar beachfront development.

He also argued that Stuart had relied on an outdated Physical Development Plan, even though Section 11(1) of the Town & Country Planning Act stipulates that the plan, which is now 14 years old, must be updated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

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

The hotel development is a vital peg in Government’s economic recovery programme, and with each day that the project remains stalled officials say it only serves to worsen the island’s economic situation.

Last week, Comissiong had described Gale and Gollop as a “tag team” partnership between Government and the developers.

“It is a tag team between Mr Gale and Mr Gollop. They are both supporting each other, Mr Stuart as the minister and the developer are supporting each other in their challenge to my standing,” said Comissiong, who was quick to point out that he was not daunted by the reputations of the opposing lawyers because the facts were on his side.

“What is important are the facts of this case and the law. So it doesn’t matter how many lawyers they array against the claimant, who in this case is myself supported by Bobby Clarke. We will be dealing with facts and the law. So let’s leave it at that because we will have a decision from the judge in due course, but I expect this case to go on and we will be ultimately looking at the merits of the claims I have brought for judicial review,” he stressed.

17 Responses to Still no settlement in sight to Hyatt case

  1. Haskell Murray August 17, 2017 at 1:04 am

    It is good that we have David Comissiong to keep the government in check otherwise the PM would do as he likes. In this case he did not follow the rules and went ahead and approve the project
    The court should overturn this illegal decision

    • John Everatt August 17, 2017 at 1:12 am

      Much as I disagree with Comissiong on most every issue on this one I agree. If the law was broken by the Prime Minister then the project must be stopped.

      • Jennifer August 17, 2017 at 1:41 am

        @Haskell – agreed. But this could well be a case of Stuart having the last laugh with his motto of holding the bull by the head. And a case of lamb on lion too. Right is right and wrong is wrong. We need to start to sever this hypocritical, back door, Stuart – battleaxe nonsense.

  2. Keen Observer August 17, 2017 at 3:29 am

    At the root of this is politics. Please do not make out Mr. Comissiong as an hero. Barbadians need jobs today. The people of years ago built roads which lasted far longer than those today , and they did so without all the environmental studies.

  3. samantha walker August 17, 2017 at 5:49 am

    Rules are rules, if the poor have to follow legislation so should the big-ups, thats why there is always a problem…. different course for differernt horses…. It was because of Commissiong that citizens are not being fingerprinted today !!

  4. Savannah West August 17, 2017 at 7:13 am

    An environmental study has nothing to do with the longevity of a structure, but the environmental impact on those LIVING IN THE AREA. Sewage, traffic congestion, water contamination, pollution etc. You trying to say that because ‘People need jobs’ we going to bend over and tek it?

    • Jennifer August 17, 2017 at 9:14 am

      Ok Savannah – And this is a big problem with some people. Forget about what is correct just accept whatever contaminated crumbs you are given. Even F off with the locals who is mostly affected too.

  5. Carson C Cadogan August 17, 2017 at 7:58 am

    Nothing happens in a vacuum. This Judge is very interesting. I wont say anything more at this time.

  6. Jennifer August 17, 2017 at 9:16 am

    Well said Savannah.

  7. roger headley August 17, 2017 at 9:16 am

    Keen Observer, The PM, Michael Lashley, Michael Carrington to mention a few are all lawyers. Regardless of the past, you have put laws in place and those those that are supposed to uphold the law based on their professions cannot now seek to break them. Why did the PM tell Michael Carrington to get a lawyer? I assume because he figured that was a dispute so let the laws of the land make a decision. The same is true of this situation, is it not?Additionally, what make you so sure Bajans will get work?

  8. Milli Watt August 17, 2017 at 9:22 am

    well done DAVID give them HELL!!!!!!!!

  9. Waiting August 17, 2017 at 9:32 am

    I just cant see myself seeing a 15 storey building in my face when I hit that junction, to me that is totally out of place. I am not against the hotel but make it 5 or 6 storey in terms of height, but also let us have an environmental impact study as the present one is outdated; plain and simple.

  10. Sue Donym August 17, 2017 at 10:08 am

    It is about now that the guilt phase should kick in… make David Comissiong feel guilty about holding upjobs for Bajans; make questioning Bajans feel guilty about holding up economic activity that could pull us out of a hole etc..

    Do you suppose that Stuart and company feel guilty about ignoring the provisions we put in place to protect US? What remorse do they feel when ordinary people can’t see the coastline, far less enjoy the feel of wet sand between our toes? A big one: how much regret do they have over giving massive concessions to wealthy hotel chains while PSV operators have to grovel for duty-free concessions for comfortable vehicles for the same overburdened tax payers to get to work?

    No guilt here about looking out for the long term. No guilt about future generations being able to take friends and relatives freely along wide and lovely stretches of beach without having to manoeuvre through rows of sun loungers like they’re training for a steeplechase. No guilt whatsoever about not letting desperation drive us to embarrassment and poor decisions.

  11. roger headley August 17, 2017 at 2:04 pm

    Knowing the ‘speed’ at which our judicial system has been working in the last couple of years, the PM could really have avoided wasting the taxpayers money and had the EI Study done – would probably have been completed by now.

  12. bk August 17, 2017 at 3:35 pm

    can anyone point out to me anything that david comissiong has done to improve the lives of ordinary bajans? Im not being facetious, im genuinely asking.

  13. Mona Yolanda August 17, 2017 at 5:09 pm

    I want to applaud the literal and figurative “David” Commissiong for taking on the powerfully placed ‘Goliath giants’ of our very small society. I ask in relation to the Hyatt, the same questions that I asked about the granting of permission for the Pure Resort at Foul Bay. Does the government recognise any beaches in Barbados as national treasures? Is there a policy about how we as a people want our landscape to look? Are we comfortable with a hotel of some sort on every available beach space? Are there any places in Barbados which by national or parliamentary dialogue and decision have been considered ‘sacred’ and consequently not for sale? We must not allow any government to sell our birthright for soup, no matter the promises of money or jobs.

  14. Frank White August 18, 2017 at 2:30 pm

    The masses put a fox to guard a henhouse and when it eats all the chickens, they wonder what went wrong…

    The prime minister throws a dart and then the ministers and yard fowls paints the bull eye…

    When will you Barbadian learn, they keep tricking you every single time, brother Comissiong is here to see that you are give a fair break but instead you shout, give me barabus…


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