Hyatt blow

LAWYER GETS GREEN LIGHT TO PROCEED WITH CHALLENGE AGAINST HOTEL

The way is now clear for attorney-at-law and social activist David Comissiong to legally challenge the decision by Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, in his capacity as Minister responsible for Town Planning, to approve construction of the controversial $200 million Hyatt Centric Resort on Bay Street, The City. High Court judge Madame Justice Dr Sonia Richards this afternoon threw out an application by the Prime Minister, who had asked the court to rule that Comissiong had no legal ground on which to challenge his decision.

Stuart’s attorney Hal Gollop, QC, immediately served notice of his intention to appeal the judge’s ruling.

The court found that Comissiong had standing under the Town and Country Planning Act as a person aggrieved, and he had the right to challenge Stuart’s decision under the Administrative Justice Act as a person whose interest was adversely affected by the permission given to build the hotel.

The judge also ruled that the High Court would hear Comissiong’s case in the public’s interest, a decision the social activist said that was most pleasing.

“In other words [the judge said] that there was sufficient public interest in this in whether the grant of the building permission was correct or incorrect, that the court should hear the matter,” he explained.

Comissiong, who from the very beginning had been pressing Government to conduct an environmental impact assessment and full public consultation, particularly with residents who were likely to be impacted by the construction of the 15-storey hotel, was over the moon following the ruling.

“The decision is in a sense a slam dunk for me in that all three grounds that I argued were upheld by the court,” he said.

Drawing from one of his late father’s sermons as a Methodist minister, Comissiong preached a message of righteousness, justice, humility, love and truth in his pursuit of the Hyatt case.

“And you know, that kept resonating with me. As I walked to the courtroom this afternoon, I felt my father was speaking to me and I felt he was telling me that when I come to address the media after the decision is given, this is what I should say to the country . . . that we are all called upon to be ministers of love and justice and righteousness, and that all of us must resolve to be the protectors of our country,” he said.

The attorney-at-law encouraged Barbadians never to give up in defence of the country by saing that whatever the challenge it is the will of God. Instead, he advised that they should do God’s will in an active, conscious, determined manner.

“I would like to send this message to the Barbadian people. I hope that what I am doing with this case, that I am doing it in humility, and that through me I am trying to be a minister of justice and righteousness,” he said, adding that all he wanted was to look after the country’s best interest, and that “when I come to the court and I say that I am concerned by this grant of permission to build a 15-storey hotel on one of Barbados’ most precious beaches, and that I am concerned that that decision made in the absence of an environmental impact assessment, I am so concerned, that I am asking our Supreme Court to review that decision”.

While Comissiong was understandably elated, the mood was different in the Prime Minister’s camp, as well as in that of Vision Developments led by Hyatt developer Mark Maloney, who had joined Stuart’s legal challenge.

Maloney’s attorney Barry Gale, QC, pointed to the fact that the matter was far from being settled, and that the judge had granted permission for her decision to be challenged in a higher court.

“The ruling made by the court this afternoon is not a ruling on the merits of the case in any way. The court made that very clear. The merits of the case would be determined subsequently at a trial,” Gale said.

“But what is of significance is that both the Prime Minister, the defendant, and Vision Developments applied for leave to appeal to the Court of Appeal,” he stressed, adding that it was significant that the judge had granted leave to both parties.

The senior attorney also said the court decision did not mean the project could not go ahead since there was no injunction stopping it.

It is a point that Comissiong has made in the past, even as he has warned on several occasions that it could prove foolhardy for the developer to begin construction while the matter is before the court.

In fact, when word surfaced in June of this year that work was being carried out at the site of the proposed development as workmen were seen spreading construction material, the social activist had advised Stuart to rescind the permission pending a final court ruling on his challenge.

“One would have expected that as soon as the application challenging the permission was made in court, a responsible and careful Government would have even temporarily suspended the grant of permission,” Comissiong had said, while warning that “if Government does not suspend [construction], it runs the risk that the developer can expend money in beginning construction, only to find, six months down the road, that the court says that the permission to construct was not properly granted and is terminated, thereby leaving the developer with a loss.”

Comissiong has challenged Government’s decision not to conduct an environmental impact assessment on the multi-million dollar beachfront development. The attorney had 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 over 14 years old, must be updated every five years.

He 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.

emmanueljoseph@barbadostoday.bb

26 Responses to Hyatt blow

  1. Jennifer December 21, 2017 at 5:12 am

    And here come that good old plantation guard dog HAL to the rescue. Go Commi. This is in the interest of all so called Barbadians. And if Hal or that Stuart was interested in due diligence they would have done the correct thing in the first place. Not doing the old time thing of jumping when told to do so. And sanctioning another big plantation, while the merchants keep their profit and fx out of the country.

    Reply
    • Jennifer December 21, 2017 at 5:19 am

      These leaders continue in gross darkness and lock down. And I do not care about how much temporary work some people talk about. All of them quick to copy, go look for something worthwhile to copy.

      Reply
  2. Sheron Inniss December 21, 2017 at 6:40 am

    Lick he good Mr C. I backing you all the way.

    Morning Jennifer. How are you? Have a great day.

    Reply
    • Jennifer December 21, 2017 at 8:23 am

      Thanks hun.

      Reply
      • Jennifer December 21, 2017 at 8:24 am

        U too. Don’t shop too much.

        Reply
  3. Francis December 21, 2017 at 6:44 am

    It is a real shame that we have so few lawyers across the Caribbean that are socially active in trying to protect or promote the interest of the masses against our elected government leaders who are only interested in serving the interest of the wealthy without question. The masses are deliberately trained to be passive observers of their own exploitation. This is the real function of our popular education and religious institutes, critical thinking is virtually banned!

    Reply
    • Jennifer December 21, 2017 at 8:26 am

      Well said. And this is a small drop in the big red bucket.

      Reply
    • Sunshine Sunny Shine December 21, 2017 at 5:28 pm

      Could not agree with you more. That is because most them are in the pockets of only doing for money. I am glad Commsiong showed this practising dictator, disrespectful twit, that he is not above the law. Surprise me, though, that the court rule this way.

      Reply
  4. Lilian Lloyd
    Lilian Lloyd December 21, 2017 at 6:46 am

    THE NEWS LIKE IT GOT HIS NOSE BIGGER!!!!

    Reply
  5. Tony Webster December 21, 2017 at 6:47 am

    Little ax cutting down some big trees….to correct size.
    Those giant trees, when they fall, will mek a loud noise…so that all may take note that there is only One who is without stain, or arrogance, or deceit, and all other human foibles!

    Reply
    • Jennifer December 21, 2017 at 8:33 am

      Oh yes TW. Let them trees sing. But remember too matt 4:7-9. Who large and in charge FOR NOW. Think spiritual now. I know u can do it.

      Reply
  6. Buun December 21, 2017 at 6:49 am

    The PM doesn’t care about us! This just proves it again.

    Reply
  7. Greengiant December 21, 2017 at 7:09 am

    The court will decide. Does this now change the opinion of some of you that our courts are biased against citizens and you can’t get justice against Government?

    One minute you want to flog the legal system, the next you praise it. My only issue here is, how come this case gets attention and adjudicated so quickly, with so many of our citizens awiting justice for several years? That’s why I said and would maintain that the attorneys have us in a judicial head lock, and we should get them out of our parliament. Let them go speed up trials, and other civil hearings if they want to make a living, instead of drawing a parliamentary salary each month, while we wait years for justice.

    It’s not fair to tax paying citizens, so whether you’re Dees or Bees this is nothing to rejoice about. This is an indication of what our plight has been under both these parties for decades. Our nation and it’s people is crying out for change, and change must come indeed.

    Reply
  8. Ralph W Talma December 21, 2017 at 7:31 am

    1. As I said previously, well done thou good and faithful servant of your people, and good luck as you now enter very stormy waters emanating from the Government side.
    2. Two questions:
    a. How come planning permission is given for a 15 storey hotel, when the law states such buildings should be between 5 and 7 stories dependent on their location?
    b. If the sewage system cannot cope with the current efflux, how will it cope with this new and large increase?

    Reply
  9. Rawle Spooner
    Rawle Spooner December 21, 2017 at 7:49 am

    Of course government lawyer gine appeal it’s more money for him.As much as he won this round expect higher courts to side with this slimy shady government especially if CJ gine be involve,these people straight up dirty.

    Reply
  10. luther thorne December 21, 2017 at 8:45 am

    An ABSENTEE PM
    A VAMPIRE PRIME MINISTER who sleeps and sleeps and wakes up only to suck the blood of life out of the people’s Hopes and Dreams.

    Reply
  11. Cuthbert Lucas
    Cuthbert Lucas December 21, 2017 at 11:04 am

    Good and Learned judge,

    Reply
  12. Deborah King
    Deborah King December 21, 2017 at 11:07 am

    He downright ugly,pathetic.

    Reply
  13. Nehast Kawaida December 21, 2017 at 1:06 pm

    Brother Comissiong we are inspired by your work and salute your advocacy!

    Reply
  14. MARIA Holder December 21, 2017 at 1:38 pm

    I am still amazed, that rather than use the time to carry out the EIA, they fighting in court. Can person be so cocky and arrogant. There is to be no backing down and agreeing that we messed up. Guano, Man!

    Reply
  15. Walter Prescod December 21, 2017 at 1:54 pm

    Well done Mr. C. Now they have to take notice, money can’t buy everything. Keep up the fight! Get up stand up for your rights.

    Reply
  16. Buun December 21, 2017 at 2:05 pm

    By the the way, I thought the PM has a lawyer degree? Maybe he should have call Mia Mottley, just a thought

    Reply
    • hcalndre December 21, 2017 at 4:38 pm

      A Cave Hill law degree and a Trinidad license to practice law in Barbados don`t make you a smart lawyer. Every year 50 lawyers are admitted to the bar in Barbados, what is that saying? Gallop and Stuart; Comissiong could teach them something.

      Reply
  17. Valerie Knight
    Valerie Knight December 21, 2017 at 3:43 pm

    Well Greengiant praise should be given where due, this legal challenge is important to islanders. We do not need another hotel on the island, these people are given huge tax incentives to start up, which by the way they’re not given in other countries and as soon as things slow down, workers get laid off indefinitely. Next thing you know they file for bankruptcy and another bloody white elephant is left standing, while all the time banking their money abroad. Look at Zimbabwe the president thought he was there for life but the people had enough, you old say he gave the diamond mines to the Chinese, the natives doesn’t benefit in any way. All house of cards must come tumbling down so the DLP needs to take heed.

    Reply
  18. Lisle December 21, 2017 at 9:03 pm

    Both side destroying the Country. We need foreign investments more than ever now. Let hings get worst and see how the people will manage. Lets get the money we need to fix the economy and foreign reserves speedly with common sense. All this political fighting winning losing etc. We all will loose in the long run big if these fights continue. The poor will feel it more. We need investments urgently people….

    Reply
  19. Helicopter(8P) December 23, 2017 at 2:15 pm

    Major recomendations and stipulations in the processing of buildings construction permits and time life expectancy of plant facilities. 2017 and beyond!!

    Reply

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