Political activist David Comissiong is accusing Prime Minister Freundel Stuart of treating him with nothing but “contempt”, scant respect and even racial bias in the controversial Hyatt hotel matter.
The attorney-at-law said he had written to Stuart as far back as August last year, expressing concern about plans to construct the 15-storey, multi-million dollar property on Lower Bay Street, The City.
However, he said the Prime Minister had yet to acknowledge his letter.
“There has been absolutely no response from the Prime Minister in relation to my concerns about the Hyatt Hotel. I wrote the Prime Minister as long ago as August 2016 outlining all of my concerns to him in great detail. Stuart never even bothered to acknowledge my letter, much less to respond to it. But this does not surprise me. This is the type of behaviour that seems to be quite common with this current administration. You write to the Prime Minister, you write to ministers of Government, and you scarcely ever receive a response. He never responded to me, but he certainly responded to businessman Mark Maloney, the developer who has made the application,” Comissiong told Barbados TODAY.
The US$100 million Hyatt Centric Resort has faced stiff opposition from Comissiong and the Barbados National Trust, who have argued the project would have serious environmental consequences.
However, Stuart announced two weeks ago at a luncheon organized by the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry that “within the next seven days I expect to be in a position to give planning permission” for the project and that construction would begin “sometime in the first half of 2017”.
Stuart made no mention of an environmental impact assessment or town hall meetings with residents of the area, two of Comissiong’s demands.
However, he did say he expected “all of the outstanding preconditions would have been satisfied” by the time he was ready to approve the application for the permit.
Nothing has been heard from the Prime Minister on the matter since, and efforts by Barbados TODAY to find out if he had indeed granted permission have so far proved futile.
However, Comissiong said it had not escaped him that Stuart was photographed “gleefully grasping Maloney’s hand in a handshake and informing him and the whole of Barbados that within seven days he would be granting him permission to construct the 15-storey Hyatt hotel”.
Comissiong said the ball was in Stuart’s court and he was awaiting the Prime Minister’s next move.
If he is not satisfied, Comissiong is likely to carry out his threat to sue Government over the matter.
“The good thing about our society is that the Prime Minister and his ministers may choose to do as they please, but there is something called the law courts and none of them are above the law,” he said, drawing parallels with the United States president Donald Trump, whose recent executive order placing a temporary entry ban on citizens of mainly Muslim countries has been struck down by a judge.
While Trump has been accused of being a racist, Comissiong made no such accusations against Stuart.
Still, the attorney suggested that the Prime Minister had displayed a certain degree of racial bias by attending to Maloney while dismissing him.
“That is the Barbados we live in. [Calypsonian] Adonijah said there are two Barbadoses. We live in a Barbados where a businessman of a certain hue will be treated with respect and an ordinary citizen like myself, attorney-at-law, none the less, of different hue could be treated in a different kind of manner,” he charged.