Promise and Practicality of Hyatt: Sifting Through the Absence of an EIA

Dr. George Brathwaite

Dr. George Brathwaite (PhD)

In recent times, the Barbados Government has not done the best job of communicating with its citizens and residents. Worse, numerous persons in the island are calling out for enhanced transparency and accountability – perhaps in vain; but receiving calculated spin and often deft silence to their appeals. The governing continues to deride such practices of good governance, and make manifesto promises and administrative best practices seem elusive and far adrift from the ideal. The saviour on many occasions has seldom been investigative journalism from the local media. Rather, the Leader of the Opposition and her team continue to expose and push back against the secrecy that has become normal in the scheme of governance under the intellectually stirred but sluggishly compromised Prime Minister Freundel Stuart. There will always be consequences for the choices made.

Activists such as David Comissiong and ‘independent’ advocates for good governance are repeatedly speaking out against perceived and actual infelicities by the government. These persons continue to be adamant that the local officials must do much more to meet the expectations of the people while advancing the national interest first. There can be no doubt that both the executive and legislative branches of government, although leaving much to be desired, ought to be more informative to the public. Government decisions must engender greater national participation and major projects must become implemented with adherence to stipulated laws and regulations, especially regarding procurement, concessions, and payment details. Politicians’ choices, pronouncements and actions will ultimately affect people’s livelihoods and those of generations to come.

It is precisely against this overarching setting of good governance for sustainable development that this article intends to examine the promise and practicality of the proposed Hyatt project to be constructed in Barbados. Why should the construction of any major project consider sustainable development? The concept of sustainable development has rightfully become inherent on any serious discussion of policymaking and project implementation in the annals of national development. The term sustainable development can be described as enhancing quality of life and thus allowing people to live in a healthy environment and improve social, economic and environmental conditions for present and future generations (Oritz et al., 2009: 29).

Furthermore, over the last decade, there have been several proposals and initiatives pushed by the Government of Barbados for bringing the notion of ‘greening’ into national development. PM Stuart, in the foreword of the Green Economy Scoping Study (GESS) contended that: “What is critical for Barbados and other Small Island Developing States (SIDS) is that the Green Economy debate recognizes our structural vulnerabilities, offers a model to assist us in further realising our sustainable development aspirations, and creates the institutional platform that would enable us to participate in innovative partnerships in the fight to save our planet, against mounting unsustainable consumption and production patterns”. Surely, as the leader of Government, and the person with whom planning permission for the Hyatt revolves, PM Stuart must believe what he is on record of advocating.

The construction is proposed for the Carlisle Bay area which is within the precincts of the UNESCO designated world heritage site of historic Bridgetown and the popular Browne’s Beach. Indeed, the intended construction will be done beachside, and it is to be multiple-storeys (15), and is expected to bring significant economic returns to a virtual dormant city area. Unfortunately, the seeming attempts by the current administration to sift through the broiling political exchanges and to go ahead with the project even in the absence of an environmental impact assessment (EIA) are alarming. An EIA is the ‘process of evaluating the likely environmental consequences of a proposed major action significantly affecting the natural and man-made environment’ (Wathern, 1988). The concerns in Barbados and specific to the Hyatt are crucial and are inclusive of social, economic, environmental, and cultural factors.

While it is fair to say that urban development and renewal are necessary for the greater Bridgetown area, there are several constraints mitigating against the Hyatt project. The sheer magnitude of the proposed Hyatt project makes it economically promising. Yet, one cannot refuse to engage the residents and citizens of Barbados, and certainly one cannot get around discussing the key issues of resource efficiency, reducing waste and the use of toxic substances, enhancing water efficiency and sustainable site development, transportation, as well as raising the consciousness of practitioners in the construction in a Heritage area that is also on the coastline offering a major open-window to the sea. Despite the potential economic goods, the Hyatt project may negatively and profoundly alter the character of the Bridgetown area in ways that are unrecoverable. The very thought of likely creating environmental disaster is antithetical to sustainable development and fashioning a green economy.

In real terms, Barbados is falling short on governance. By governance, this article considers “how one gets to act, through what types of interactions (deliberation, negotiation, self-regulation or authoritative choice) and the extent to which actors adhere to collective decisions. It involves the level and scope of political allocation, the dominant orientation of state, and other institutions and their interactions” (Eden and Hampson 1997, p.362). After 50 years of Independence, there is no doubt that Barbados is compelled to ensure that its governance structures organise negotiation processes, determine objectives, influence motivations, set standards, perform allocation functions, monitor compliance, impose penalties, initiate and/or reduce conflict, and resolve disputes among the many stakeholders some of whom would obviously be external to Barbados.

Nevertheless, and specifically dealing with construction in a sustainable manner, the GESS recognises that: ‘The construction of commercial and residential buildings puts a strain on natural and human resources through energy use, land use, the removal of natural materials, transportation of construction materials, liquid and solid waste generation, poor utilisation and recycling of building materials and the use of hazardous building materials’. With the Government knowing and articulating these factors, why would the Freundel Stuart administration appear to be dodging the prime opportunity to discuss at a national level these environmental and greening concerns as they relate to the Hyatt project?

The DLP’s 2013 Manifesto pledge at page 49 states that: “The preservation of the natural environment is absolutely critical to the social and economic future of Barbados. For example, tourism, the major foreign exchange earner is dependent on the natural resource base of the economy as a source of land to provide tourism infrastructure and the provision of water, food, a clean marine environment, and natural attractions such as the Harrison’s Cave. Government has an inescapable responsibility to assume the lead responsibility for ensuring that the environment is managed effectively. The process of environmental care is the concern of every citizen and resident of Barbados (my emphasis in bold italics). Is it a definite walk away from the DLP’s pledge of 2013 when the Prime Minister and his Cabinet fail to utilise the tools of an EIA and make available forums for engaging the public on the Hyatt project. The EIA is therefore an anticipatory, participatory, environmental management tool, the most visible manifestation of which is the environmental impact statement that would be derived from the findings of the technocrats and state officials (Wood and Dejeddour, 1992: 3). There are too many interlinking issues that are critical to Barbados’ sustainable development which cannot be overlooked if good governance best practices are to be followed.

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108 Comments on “Promise and Practicality of Hyatt: Sifting Through the Absence of an EIA”

  1. George C. Brathwaite February 1, 2017 at 10:08 PM #

    @ millertheanunnaki
    And the only one who can call those elections under normal circumstances is the PM. Too many persons in the country believe that they will attract the venom of vindictiveness hence they stay silent and wait. Those of us who speak out get labelled as unpatriotic, alarmers, liars, and like this weekend wicked and evil. If a majority of people stay silent, this time next year we will still be waiting on a date for elections. Therefore, we may as well plead with FS to remove the ‘physical deficit’ and maybe drop a couple others. Hahahaaa.

    Like

  2. nineofnine February 1, 2017 at 10:17 PM #

    SALUTES PUNTIS TRIANGULI.

    Sometimes I just sit back and have a good laugh at some of the comments here on BU. Totally stress relieving at times.

    To CITE a response to a comment….
    ….”why are you responding to a man who has not only lost his ‘sight’ in identifying the blogger who made the homophonic error in his choice of word.”….(“ALTERNATIVE SIGHT”)

    Correction.
    The use of the word “SIGHT” in the phrase in my comment “ALTERNATIVE SIGHT” was intentional.
    Yes the topic is of Hyatt construction, so that’s an obvious, worded “SITE”.

    Though a fruitless search was made for the phrase, the terms’ intent was
    1. Subliminal, to gauge attention and stimulate further additional debate for concepts and solutions.
    2. To direct your power of visualization (using the third eye) to arrive a the best outcome as we progressively create our future, NOW.

    cite me, this site gives insight to incite foresight of leucocyte men displaying an oversight without hindsight.

    Like

  3. TheGazer February 1, 2017 at 10:22 PM #

    shite with a silent h

    Like

  4. NorthernObserver February 1, 2017 at 10:22 PM #

    @WW&C
    That is because he has a bunch of rookie ministers. The lady whom he has since transferred told us…“I have to admit that I am a little disappointed because what we had hoped the committee would provide us with was a specific alternative system to first past the post,” Monsef said. “Instead, it provided us with the Gallagher Index.”

    She said the committee “did not complete the hard work we had expected it to,”.

    However…”In the 2015 federal election, the Liberals won a majority of seats in the House of Commons after garnering a mere 39.5 per cent of the popular vote — all thanks to first-past-the-post.”

    Pretty boy doesn’t want to change shiite…that is how he won. Ya think DT is begging to change the electoral college?

    Truth be told, JT knew that going in. He should have wanted a negative result and prepared his minister for that. She should just have said “we thank the committee for their work and will consider their recommendations”.

    Shit happens when you delegate to rookies.

    Like

  5. NorthernObserver February 1, 2017 at 10:24 PM #

    and you are all over the world taking selfies LOL

    Like

  6. NorthernObserver February 1, 2017 at 10:26 PM #

    excellent Gazer…a little humour goes a long way

    Like

  7. bajans February 1, 2017 at 10:34 PM #

    Nine of Nine, you beginning to sound like Dr. GP yuh.

    Like

  8. nineofnine February 1, 2017 at 11:46 PM #

    …Bajans, Which Dr. GP is this?

    Like

  9. Sargeant February 2, 2017 at 12:10 AM #

    @Northern

    That promise in the hustle and bustle of an Election battle was probably a throwaway line that caught the attention of the media and was never going to work.
    The NDP and Greens are incensed because they saw a way to pick up seats, for the Libs better to bite the bullet and walk away somewhat bruised.

    If that was ever implemented they would never be majority Gov’ts in Canada, there would be constant coalitions or it would become the Italy of North America with a new Gov’t every six months.

    Like

  10. Hal Austin February 2, 2017 at 4:27 AM #

    D the trade unions which organise hotel workers have a view on Hyatt? Or are they waiting until it is built to campaign for a wage rise? It seems policy is outside their remit.

    Like

  11. David February 2, 2017 at 6:09 AM #

    @Hal

    The trade unions have traditionally concentrated on the pay increase type of issues. Occasionally occupational -health and safety.

    Like

  12. Well Well & Consequences February 2, 2017 at 7:02 AM #

    http://www.nationnews.com/nationnews/news/93103/barbados-bonds-distress

    Where was this conman hiding.

    Art…..a financial guru for you to engage.

    Like

  13. Well Well & Consequences February 2, 2017 at 7:03 AM #

    http://www.nationnews.com/nationnews/news/93105/reserves-warning

    And the warnings keep coming.

    Like

  14. Well Well & Consequences February 2, 2017 at 7:06 AM #

    Got ya Northern….

    Like

  15. Artax February 2, 2017 at 7:15 AM #

    According to the Thursday, January 26, 2017 edition of Barbados Today, PM Stuart told those in attendance at the first Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry luncheon for 2017 at the Hilton Barbados Resort: “I should like to say here today that in my capacity as Minister responsible for Town Planning matters, within the next seven days I expect to be in a position to give planning permission for the downtown Hyatt project, by which time all of the outstanding preconditions would have been satisfied.”

    According to information received, under the previous BLP administration, there was a proposal to construct a hotel on or near the site where the Hyatt is supposed to be built. An EIA and all the other requirements were obtained, but the project did not materialize.

    It is my understanding that after submission of the final EIA and permit applications, town hall meetings are mandatory in the EIA procedure and are organized in close cooperation with relevant authorities, which in our case includes the Town & Country Planning Department.

    If this information is true, has the PM relied on the results of assessments contained in those previous reports to make a decision on Hyatt, in the absence of the mandatory town hall meetings?

    Since there may have been environmental changes in the area, due to erosion, etc, new assessments should be required and the results made available to the public, which could be discussed at the town hall meetings.

    Like

  16. Alvin Cummins February 2, 2017 at 8:04 AM #

    David,
    you of all people should not be saying things like “leave the politics out”. The life-blood of BU is politics. Everything in Barbados; and indeed the world is politics. Look at the mess erupting now thanks to that incompetent Trump/Bannon, presidency. I am watching with interest. Barbados despite all that was said over the past two to three yeARS, IS STILL PROGRESSING. ANYBODY WHO DENIES THAT IS BLIND and wickedly trying to confuse and mislead.
    Northern;
    You said “shit happens when you delegate to rookies”. Best example the shit happening in the U.S.at this time. waiting to see who next will be pissed off.

    Like

  17. Artax February 2, 2017 at 8:19 AM #

    You are now bordering on idiocy…… in fact you are displaying your ignorance.

    I have posted contributions to this forum explaining these matters, but they are usually dismissed by “economics illiterates,” such as you. (I hope GP forgives me for using his phrase).

    Anytime a country consistently runs a high fiscal deficit, incurs a high level of debt and undertakes financing government spending by allowing the Central Bank to “print money,” while holding fast to monetary policy that seeks to maintain a fixed exchange rate, runs the risk of causing the dollar to be devalued.

    Additionally, a country that has experienced consistent credit rating downgrades will find difficulty attracting investors expressing any level of confidence in buying bonds or investing in the country. This is basic economics, you don’t need to read Bloomberg to understand these facts.

    Under these conditions, what government seems not to be willing to accept is the fact that the monetary policies they are pursuing has been ineffective in influencing the economy in a fixed exchange rate system.

    Since the BD$ is fixed to the US$, and changes in market conditions that affects the US$ will automatically affect the BD$. The recent changes in the US$ meant an increase in interest rates for Barbados’ bonds.

    I also referred to the Central Bank’s June 2016 press release, specifically page 3, in which the Governor of the Central Bank reported:

    “When the Central Bank removed the minimum deposit interest rate stipulation in April 2015 an attempt was made to narrow this gap and reduce the Barbados risk premium, through intervention at the Treasury bill auction. However, because of Government’s cash flow needs, the minor rate reductions achieved could not be sustained.”

    I explained in this forum why the Central Bank took this action and the effects such actions would have on bonds. Fortunately, Dr. Mascoll subsequently wrote about this issue last year in one of his columns and expressed sentiments that were similar to mine. However, knowing how many of you in this forum think, I was dismissed and Dr. Mascoll’s analysis deemed to be political by the so called “common sense foolarazzi.”

    I also wrote about capital flight in a contribution to a BU article which dealt with the foreign reserves. Why do you think Guyana had to temporarily stop purchasing the BD$? Barbadians were using Guyana’s easy access to purchasing US$ to exchange BD$ for US$. This is capital flight.

    And why did the Guyana Central Bank temporarily halt the purchase of BD$? Not because the BD$ is devalued, but to protect their foreign reserves. The Cambios and road side changers are still purchasing BD$, which means the $ still has value.

    People like you, without an entire understanding of a issue, would take up a Bloomberg magazine and come to an uninformed conclusion believing it to be correct.

    Stick to copying and pasting things about Donald trump.

    Like

  18. Gabriel February 2, 2017 at 11:23 AM #

    Trump threatening to invade Mexico.Maybe he might annex Mexico and save the wall building expense by moving the Mexicans further south where the border will be less

    Like

  19. NorthernObserver February 2, 2017 at 2:21 PM #

    @Sarge
    Yes, yes and yes, except it was mentioned several times. Not a one off thing.
    And from Ms Monsef’s lambasting in House suggested “she was looking something specifc”. As you point out, why is a bit of a mystery. They made a promise, they kept it, all good.

    @Alvin
    Rookie actions all around.

    Like

  20. bajans February 2, 2017 at 4:47 PM #

    @nine of nine
    that would be BU’s own Dr. Georgie Porgie, who has been missing in action lately.

    Like

  21. Well Well & Consequences February 2, 2017 at 6:07 PM #

    http://www.nationnews.com/nationnews/news/93105/reserves-warning

    No Alvin….you are blind and wicked and lie, being patriotic dpes not mean condoning, indulging and enabling the government ministers in their evil and corruption and Fruendel in lies and deceit, what’s your definition of progressing, why dont you get your ass up out of Canada and return to Barbados to progress to….they do not even have kneeling buses in Barbados for disabled persons and senior citizens.

    Skeete, along with all the credit rating agencies and IMF have been warning bpth governments for over 10 years that this will happen if they did not act back then, they refused to act and it is now happening, so enough with your deceit.

    Like

  22. Well Well & Consequences February 2, 2017 at 6:13 PM #

    Art….I hope you are not ranting about me, you just wasted all of your time saying the same thing I kept telling ya yesterday…lol….and to which you were all incensed, sorry you seem to be so off ya usual game, but dont rant at BUers when ya have lost track of your thoughts, take a deep breath and relax, I spent the whole day sleeping, if I knew you were so dusturbed ah would have got up earlier.

    Ya must try sleep during the day, it’s refreshing….charges those brain cells to full capacity….ah ready for trump and you again.

    Like

  23. Calling a spade February 3, 2017 at 9:05 AM #

    Is the Billie Miller protesting the construction of the Hyatt the same person who protested with Henry Deboolee Forde and the Under 40’s against Barbados becoming an independent sovereign nation? Just asking.

    Like

  24. David February 3, 2017 at 1:11 PM #

    @Calling a spade aka waiting

    What is your point?

    Like

  25. NorthernObserver February 3, 2017 at 2:59 PM #

    Returning to Hyatt….
    “Hyatt Hotels Corporation (NYSE: H) announced today that a Hyatt affiliate has entered into a management agreement with Vision Developments Inc. for a Hyatt Centric hotel in Carlisle Bay, Barbados.”

    So who is the money paying for construction, if we have a “Hyatt AFFILIATE” in a “management agreement”. The Chinese?

    I also wasn’t aware…”Additionally, Hyatt Centric Carlisle Bay, Barbados will feature 32 Hyatt Centric-branded residential condominium units ”

    http://investors.hyatt.com/investor-relations/news-and-events/financial-news/financial-news-details/2016/Hyatt-Announces-Plans-for-a-Hyatt-Centric-Hotel-in-Barbados/default.aspx

    Like

  26. David February 3, 2017 at 4:53 PM #

    Not sure how many read Gercine Carter’s piece in today’s Nation where Miss Ram was allowed to sound off. No where in the piece was Miss Ram asked about environmental issues. The full focus was on the economic considerations. We have sold our souls for a mess of pottage.

    Like

  27. Enuff February 4, 2017 at 5:59 AM #

    David
    Ram’s building has had an adverse impact on the visual environment of Bay Street for eons. How then do you expect the lady to acknowledge the importance of environmental issues?

    Like

  28. Bush Tea February 4, 2017 at 8:14 AM #

    @ David
    You ever been to India?

    Like

  29. millertheanunnaki February 4, 2017 at 9:03 AM #

    @ EnuffFebruary 4, 2017 at 5:59 AM

    Why should the nanny of an ovis aries? Its poor taste in ‘commercial’ architecture is reflected in the low-security penitentiary in the East built more for white collar criminals than as hostel for paying guests.

    Not even the cursed billy goat called Murphy educated at Oxbridge and standing in as the mascot of that deceitful lying party would wish for a stint of incarceration at that musty tavern.

    How could such an international hotel chain ever lend its name and business reputation to an establishment operating next to an ugly dungeon housing a hardware dump?

    Her interest in that project is strictly commercially selfish hoping by a far stretch of the imagination the erection of that 15 floor monster materializes.

    If the ram owns the building which must be ‘liquidated’, both physically and aesthetically, it stands to make a massive capital gain payout.

    It’s a crying shame such far-sighted entrepreneur could not have grasped the opportunity to put their forex consuming trinkets importing mouths are and buy out the Four Seasons much more aesthetically appealing project which was going for a song; something much more up their ‘cheap’ street than that imaginary monster erection on the bay.

    Like

  30. Vincent Haynes February 4, 2017 at 10:18 AM #

    That 4 season affair continues to be a puzzle………will be interesting when the story is told.

    Like

  31. Well Well & Consequences February 4, 2017 at 7:22 PM #

    http://www.nationnews.com/nationnews/news/93162/dollar-safe

    If fireign reserves was at 2.6 months in December 2016, and should be 3 months, with things deteriorating as told by bloomberg, devaluation cannot be that far off…and if Worrel is also saying there will be no currency substitution and givernment is saying there will be no devaluation….do any of these taxpayer paid clowns have a plan B….do any of them know where any of this is going.

    Like

  32. Well Well & Consequences February 4, 2017 at 7:41 PM #

    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/doctors-discover-live-cockroach-woman-skull-article-1.2964331

    Reminds me of the Bizzy “give me” cockroach and the Maloney cockroach and the Cow cockroach and the Bjerkham, Harris, Parris, Tempro cockroaches, all hiding in some dark, slimy place waiting to execute their scams to rob the treasury, steal from taxpayers and get their handouts via government contracts….that’s what cockroaches do, hide and wait….they just need for the ministers to deceive the electorate first.

    Like

  33. Exclaimer February 11, 2017 at 5:07 AM #

    “According the officials, lawyers have advised that an environmental impact assessment (EIA) was not required under the Town & Country Planning Act, therefore there was no reason for any further delay to the US$100 million Hyatt Centric Resort.”

    https://www.barbadostoday.bb/2017/02/11/hyatt-approved/

    https://www.barbadostoday.bb/2017/02/11/go-after-the-private-sector-govt-told/

    Like

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