Submitted by DAVID COMISSIONG, President, Clement Payne Movement
Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy would be well advised to keep his mouth shut on the issue of the application by Visions Development Inc. (Mr. Mark Maloney’s company) to construct a 15 storey Hyatt hotel on Browne’s Beach.
The Law of Barbados — as spelt out in the Town and Country Planning Act and in various Orders made under that Act — stipulates that the Application in question has to be dealt with by the Minister responsible for Town and Country Planning (the Prime Minister), and that it has to be subjected to an objective and impartial processing procedure that must take into account the provisions of the country’s Physical Development Plan and “other material considerations”.
Furthermore, the existing Town and Country Planning policies and regulations establish that an Application of this nature also has to be subjected to an “Environmental Impact Assessment” exercise, inclusive of a Public Meeting with persons who reside within the vicinity of the proposed project.
It is only AFTER all of these processes have been completed that the Prime Minister would be in a position to conclude his processing of the Application and to make a reasoned and informed decision.
It is therefore highly irregular and improper for Mr. Sealy, a senior Minister in Mr. Stuart’s Administration, to be “shooting off his mouth” and speaking out of turn by publicly declaring that Mr Maloney’s company will be given permission to construct the hotel in question.
If the procedure that is being applied to the processing of the Application is an independent and impartial one, and if this procedure is still on-going, then how could Mr Sealy be in a position to assert that Maloney’s company will get the permission?
Mr. Sealy’s public pronouncements are only serving to cast doubt on the independence, objectiveness and impartiality of the manner in which the processing of this Application by Mr. Maloney’s company is being conducted.
And if— at some point in the future — this matter becomes the subject of a Judicial Review application in the Supreme Court of Barbados, Mr. Sealy could rest assured that his out-of-turn public pronouncements and the doubt that they cast on the impartiality and legitimacy of the process applied to Maloney’s Application, will feature prominently.