Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy remains confident that work on the multi-million dollar Hyatt Centric Resort will begin “in the fullness of time”.
It was only in September that Sealy had told supporters of the ruling Democratic Labour Party at the party’s luncheon lecture that construction of the US$100 million project at Bay Street, The City would commence “in a couple of weeks”.
However, with High Court Judge Madame Justice Dr Sonia Richards last week throwing out an application by Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, who had asked the court to rule that attorney-at-law and social activist David Comissiong had no legal ground on which to challenge the Prime Minister’s decision to grant permission for the project to proceed, Sealy today was more circumspect.
“The judge did what she had to do and I will look forward to the developers doing what they have to do,” Sealy told Barbados TODAY.
“My understanding is that there is no injunction, there is nothing stopping the work [on] Hyatt from taking place and I guess in the fullness of time that will occur,” he added.
The project, on which Government had been counting to help stop the slide in foreign reserves, has been the subject of litigation, with Comissiong challenging Government’s decision not to conduct an environment impact assessment on the planned 15-storey hotel.
The attorney-at-law had also argued that Stuart had relied on an outdated physical development plan, even though Section 11 (1) of the Town & country Planning Act stipulates that the plan, which is over 14 years old, must be updated every five years, and that the maximum height allowed for beachfront hotels was five storeys, and seven storeys for non-beachfront tourist accommodation, well below the 15 storeys planned by the Hyatt’s primary developer Mark Maloney of Vision Development Inc, in collaboration with Caribbean Consultants Ltd.
Immediately following last week’s ruling, Stuart’s lead attorney Hal Gallop, QC, served notice of his intention to appeal the judge’s decision.
Maloney has also expressed frustration at the length of time it was taking for the project to get off the ground.
“Some people have strong feelings on things, and you have to accept that. We are in a democratic society and we go through our democratic process. But we are patient. We are persistent and we are persevering and hopefully the outcome would allow us to fulfill our vision as developers to Barbados and the tourism industry,” Maloney, who had joined Stuart’s legal challenge, had told Barbados TODAY days before the ruling was handed down.
However, while acknowledging that there was no injunction preventing work on the project from getting under way, Comissiong has repeatedly said it would be an unwise move since that Hyatt developers could be wasting precious time and money should the court rule that the project cannot proceed.