A move to have a charge against Project Recycle Ltd and the company’s representative Adrian Weekes dismissed, even before a single witness was called, did not find favour with Magistrate Douglas Frederick this afternoon.
Today marked the opening day of the case brought by the Chief Town Planner Mark Cummins against the defendents who are accused of unlawfully changing the use of the land at Lower Estate, St George from mining for use of solid waste disposal, without the required planning permission and in contravention of the Town & Country Planning Act.
Appearing on their behalf in the District ‘A’ Magistrates Court was attorney Wilfred Abrahams who immediately sought to have the matter struck out, arguing that a stop notice could only be issued by the Town & Country Planning Department for operations, and not for change of use.
However, the magistrate said before making any ruling, he would first need to hear the evidence of the case.
“I now have to hear the evidence. You are focusing on evidential aspects, which I think should be done after the case,” he told Abrahams.
“I don’t have any evidence and you are asking me to make a determination and I don’t know anything,” Frederick added.
He also told Abrahams, who appeared along with attorney Zahir Jackson, that he would be better served presenting a no-case submission after the evidence was given.
Town planner Rudy Headley was the first witness to take the stand.
Under examination by prosecutor for the Crown Oliver Thomas, Headley said he paid a visit to Project Recycle Ltd’s quarry in Lower Estate, St George on September 25, 2015 after receiving a letter from the business querying whether the activity taking place there constituted requirement for an application for change of use.
He revealed that the letter was the main reason why he and three other officers from the Town & Country Planning Department visited the quarry, which had been used for mining for “many, many” years.
However, during their visit, Headley said he saw tree limbs, soil, coconut shells, skips and household appliances, which left him to conclude that there had been a material change in the use of the site from mining to separation of waste.
Headley told the court no such activity had been sanctioned by him.
He said he spoke to the person in charge of the quarry afterwards, and told them planning permission was required from the Chief Town Planner.
Headley said he also informed the operator that he would have to serve an enforcement notice.
As a result, he said, an enforcement notice, along with a stop notice, were issued.
Subsequently, he said an application was received from Adrian Weekes, acting on behalf of Project Recycle Ltd.
Under cross-examination from Abrahams, Headley said separation of waste was different from solid waste disposal.
However, he said while he had seen waste materials dumped at the site, he had not actually seen any processing of waste.
Furthermore, Headley could not say how long the items had been on site, or whether they had been there longer than the 28 days permitted by the Town & Country Planning before they could be deemed permanent waste.
The matter was adjorned until April 1, when Abrahams will continue his cross-examination.