Minister of Housing and Lands Denis Kellman has described opponents of the controversial Hyatt Centric project as “enemies of the State”.
Kellman made the charge in Parliament this morning, during debate on a resolution on Crown Lands (Vesting and Disposal) on London Bourne Towers, in a clear reference to legal action being taken by attorney-at-law David Comissiong against the construction of the multi-million dollar hotel.
“I find it very shortsighted of some people who cannot appreciate that any development that comes close to London Bourne Towers or Nelson Street or so on, can only be a positive and not a negative.
“And anybody who stands in the way should be seen as an enemy not only of the State, but must be seen as an enemy to the people who are also living in the London Bourne Towers, because they are depriving them of an opportunity of having a job, of being able to provide a service to service the debt, or service the liability that they have with the NHC [National Housing Corporation] at some point in time,” Kellman told the Lower House.
His comments came as the High Court delayed consideration of an interim order that was recently filed by Comissiong.
When the matter came up before Justice Randall Worrell in the Number 9 Supreme Court this morning, both sides agreed to postpone the hearing on the interim order until May 9 when the substantive court case is scheduled to be heard.
Comissiong has taken legal action against the Freundel Stuart administration’s decision not to conduct an environmental impact assessment before granting permission for the construction of the US$100 million hotel on Bay Street, The City.
The social activist had secured an injunction last month which suspended permission granted by Stuart in his capacity as Minister responsible for Town & Country Planning, for construction of the 15-storey property, until the matter is heard by the court.
Kellman said that with respect to London Bourne Towers, urban housing development could not be undertaken in isolation, but there must be commercial activity in the area as well.
“That is why it is very important, especially as we deal with the London Bourne Towers, that we recognize that we just can’t build the London Bourne Towers and it’s a standalone. But you must have the necessary development in the area, so that the people will feel happy to remain in the area, and can see that they can drive and get an opportunity to get a job in that particular area. There must be a mix,” Kellman said.
He also drew parallels to the sugar industry, saying that in its quest for urban development, Barbados should adopt the same model practised during the glory days of the agriculture sector.
“I keep making the point that if we are going to develop the urban areas, that we must copy and we must go back to our history. Barbados was very successful when the sugar industry was able to have small farmers taking part in the industry, because those persons who had the lands were quite prepared to cut their canes and because they were prepared to cut canes for themselves, they were quite prepared to also work on the plantations, etc,” the minister added.