The legal challenge to the construction of the US$100 million Hyatt Centric project, brought by attorney-at-law and social activist David Comissiong against Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, in his capacity as minister responsible for Town & Country Planning, is yet to get off the ground.
When the matter came up for hearing in the No. 6 Supreme Court Friday, Madam Justice Sonia Richards fixed August 10 as the date for hearing of the Prime Minister’s counter challenge to Comissiong’s request for a judicial review of his planning decision on Hyatt.
Comissiong told reporters on the steps of the Supreme Court after an in-chamber hearing Friday morning that the issue of whether he had the legal standing to bring such a claim must be dealt with before the substantive matter could move forward.
“The thinking is that since that is a key issue, let the court deal with that first up and let us see what is the finding, is where that issue is concerned.
“I am very confident that I do have sufficient interest in this matter, to have standing, to bring this application for judicial review but we will have the hearing on the 10th and we will see what the decision is,” the attorney said.
On previous occasions when the Hyatt matter came up in court, the Prime Minister was represented by the Deputy Solicitor General Donna Brathwaite, QC. However, Friday he was represented by Hal Gollop, QC and his associates Steve Gollop and Neil Marshall.
Friday was also the first time Barry Gale, QC, would have appeared on behalf businessman Mark Maloney’s company, Visions Development Inc, which is constructing the project, after a formal request was earlier made for the developer to be added as a defendant in the case.
Comissiong, who is representing himself, is challenging Government’s decision not to conduct an environmental impact assessment on the multi-million dollar beachfront development.
He has also argued that Stuart had relied on an outdated Physical Development Plan, even though Section 11(1) of the Town & Country Planning Act stipulates that the plan, which is now 14 years old, must be updated every five years.
The attorney also took issue with the 15-storey elevation, pointing out that the maximum height allowed for beachfront hotels was five-storeys, compared to the seven storeys for non-beachfront tourist accommodation.