Comissiong to PM: You are wrong!
Attorney-at-law and social activist, David Comissiong has given Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart a good Bajan tongue lashing for the decision to grant permission on the Downtown Hyatt.
"If yuh start wrong yuh bound to end wrong.’"
These were the stern words coming out of a Comissiong issued press release today. Right on the heels of an announcement made by Stuart during a monthly luncheon of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) yesterday, stating he will be granting building permission for the Downtown Hyatt and construction is to commence in the first half of 2017.
Comissiong has been weighing in heavily on the proposed project for quite a while now calling on the Stuart led administration to follow the necessary procedures or suffer the legal consequences.
The statement touched on several points, particularly the lack of consultation with persons in the surrounding districts as well as the environmental implications such as project is expected to have on the waterfront space at Browne's Beach.
“When did you or the applicant company, Visions Development Inc., hold even ONE Town Hall Meeting with the ordinary citizens of Barbados - particularly with residents of the nearby communities - so that you could be informed about their views, prior to your making this decision? And I am referring here to the thousands of ordinary black working class Barbadians who reside in Wellington Street, Pondside, London Bourne Towers, and other surrounding residential areas, as well as to the thousands of Barbadians who religiously avail themselves of Browne’s Beach.
Are you aware that Barbados’ Town Planning Department as well as the major international environmental institutions such as the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) require the carrying out of Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) as part of the procedure for processing applications of the magnitude of a 15 storey beach hotel, and that central to such EIAs is consultation with the people?”
Comissiong also raised concerns about whether or not preferential treatment was being granted to Visions Development Inc - run by businessman Mark Maloney - on this project as well as others across the island.
“Why is there such a record of your Administration time after time bending over backwards to confer all sorts of outrageously privileged contractual arrangements on Mr Mark Maloney or on companies that are controlled by the said Mark Maloney - Storage Solutions Limited (payment of rental fees in the sum of $2,150,000.00 per year over 20 years for the rental of 3 molasses storage tanks); Housing Concepts SRL (an agreement to purchase any of the houses constructed at Coverley that Maloney is not able to sell to the public); Bushy Park Circuit Inc and the list goes on.”
Although the statement does not explicitly state Comissiong will be challenging the decision in the Supreme Court as he has hinted on previous occasions, it said he has and will continue to await direct word from Stuart on the matter.
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