The Opposition Barbados Labour Party is being accused of engaging in a scheme to claim credit for the controversial Hyatt hotel project.
Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Education and Democratic Labour Party (DLP) candidate for St James North Harry Husbands Sunday claimed the BLP really wanted the project to proceed.
He said however, it was seeking to delay approval until after the next general election, which it expects the DLP to lose.
Husband contended that in this case a BLP administration would quickly approve construction.
“They do not want to end the project because if we were to lose office tomorrow, the Hyatt would get building approval the next day and it would be completed by the end of the year. They do not want to end it; they want to stretch it out. As a result they came up with all kinds of things like environmental impact studies,” Husbands told his constituency branch meeting at the St Albans Primary School in Weston, St James.
The former trade unionist lashed out at former Member of Parliament for The City Dame Billie Miller, who recently warned that the recent problem of raw sewage spilling over into the streets along the south coast and in certain parts of Bridgetown, could only worsen with the construction of the proposed 250-room luxury Hyatt hotel.
Dame Billie, who represented the City for over three decades before bowing out of active politics in 2008, further cautioned that the Bridgetown sewerage system was already experiencing a “severe” overload, as she appealed directly to Prime Minister Freundel Stuart to ensure that a comprehensive environmental impact assessment (EIA) was done before his Government proceeds any further with its plans for Carlisle Bay.
She also expressed concern that the Hyatt would be built within a designated marine park and at an important physical junction, which, she said, if approached the wrong way, could “imperil” other historic buildings along the Bay Street, St Michael corridor.
However, Husbands claimed the former Minister of Tourism was blowing hot and cold since it was a BLP Government of which she was a part that enacted legislation to reserve the area from the Old Eye Ward going north for tourism development.
“It was the BLP who reserved the area. The fact that there is going to be major tourism development in that area is not a surprise to anybody. It is certainly not a surprise to them because this is what they wanted and we put into action,” he told party supporters.
The parliamentary secretary boasted while Prime Minister Freundel Stuart was being described as incompetent, he was able to attract a major hotel brand to the area, something he said the BLP was unable to achieve.
Official sources told Barbados TODAY on Friday evening that approval had been given by Stuart for construction of the multi-million dollar development to begin, and Town Planning officials were simply putting the finishing touches to the agreement before making the announcement.
According the officials, lawyers had advised that an EIA was not required under the Town & Country Planning Act, therefore there was no reason for any further delay to the US$100 million Hyatt Centric Resort.