The threat of legal action continues to hang over the controversial Hyatt Centric development with attorney-at-law and social activist David Comissiong preparing to make good on his promise to challenge the construction of the 15-storey property in court.
Speaking to Barbados TODAY Wednesday as a team of workmen were busy clearing the beachfront area to allow for the project to get going, Comissiong said he intended to file the lawsuit by early next week in his quest to
halt the US$100 million development, which has also faced stiff opposition from the Barbados National Trust, who have argued the project would have serious environmental consequences.
Comissiong explained that even though approval had now been given by the Town & Country Planning Department to the application, which was filed by Edgehill Consulting Inc. on March 30, 2015, on behalf of Vision Development, he was still well within the six-week limit for challenging the decision.
“There are 11 different grounds, so it is not a simple matter. It is a work in progress. It is a voluminous claim and all of the grounds have to be properly sorted out. I am still working on it and I would be ready by early next week,” he said in explaining his own delay in taking legal action.
And without going into detail on his legal challenge, Comissiong said: “No government in a modern democratic society should be permitted to approve a project of this magnitude without consulting the people of the country, particularly the people who reside in that geographic area.
“This has not been done and it must be done,” he insisted.
The outspoken attorney also took issue with businessman Mark Maloney’s involvement in the project, saying it was “troubling”.
“Once again he is the recurring decimal and something is seriously wrong here. Many other developers are required to go through a democratic process of consultation; why does this democratic procedure not apply to Mr Mark Maloney?” Comissiong asked, while also reiterating his call for an environmental impact assessment to be done before the project proceeds any further.
“In a country that is environmentally and socially vulnerable as Barbados, how do you give approval to a project of this magnitude without first carrying out an environmental impact assessment? This is ludicrous and this suggests that the Government of Barbados believes that Barbados is some backward 19th century country.
“No mature and modern country would permit this type of project without this study. These are very weighty principles that I am prepared to stand up for as a citizen of Barbados, even if it is me alone,” the social activist said.
However, even though Comissiong had written to the Prime Minister as far back as August last year expressing concern about the plans to construct the multi-million dollar property on Lower Bay Street, The City, Stuart, who is the minister responsible for Town & Country Planning, announced at the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry luncheon on January 25 this year that approval would be given for the project.
The Prime Minister had also said he expected “all of the outstanding pre-conditions would have been satisfied” by the time he was ready to give the go-ahead.