Some are of the mistaken view that BU is anti-investment because we have advocated against projects like Cahill Energy and of most recent, the Hyatt Hotel project. Let us be pellucid as the English language allows, we are NOT. Instead all we ask is for our government to be forthcoming with relevant and timely information to ensure the citizenry is kept informed as is our right under our system of government. Pages of Auditor General reports support the scepticism of citizens that successive government have surrendered to corrupt behaviour and lazy management practices. If there was doubt the the recent Cahill Energy fiasco with a preponderance of evidence confirmed the Stuart government made many questionable decisions. How are citizens expected to be confident in this government to implement large projects? Of recent there is the Del Maestro transaction which provokes the obvious questions: what would have motivated the principals of Deltro to freight millions of dollars in equipment to Barbados –stored at the Barbados ort Authority -BEFORE approvals from the Town Planning Department and the relevant government ministries are approved?
The Hyatt hotel project continues to generate a lot of chatter. At first many reacted to the fact that Mark Maloney, a principal in Vision Development Incorporated responsible for mobilizing the project, was again the face of a major project in Barbados. Of recent, the conversation has rightly shifted to the fact Bridgetown is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and therefore the Hyatt hotel should blend with the surrounding environment.
After waiting months on Prime Minister Stuart to approve the Hyatt project when the Town Planning Department kicked it upstairs, it was reported last week that the the green light was finally given. Surprisingly, the media report claimed that an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was vetoed for the project after the government was advised by lawyers it is not required. Who are these lawyers? Are they from the Solicitor’s Office?
Commonsense supports the expectation that an EIA is absolutely necessary to be conducted to support a project given its mooted footprint. The footprint is defined as a hotel with 237 rooms, to be built on 3 acres of beachfront land. We will have to wait for information to trickle to the people of the number of storeys approved. To be expected the government read Prime Minister Stuart has not called what should be the obligatory press conference to update Barbadians . This is the scant regard these educated members of the political class hold Barbadians. This was confirmed recently in parliament by Minister Steve Blackett who questioned why a town hall was necessary. BU will resist the temptation to go low, JA.
If commonsense was not enough to support an EIA as a condition for approval for the Hyatt hotel project, the BU family was directed to the Draft Physical Development Plan (DPDP) dated February 2017 posted to the Town Planning Department website. Not only does the DPDP call for an EIS to be used as a tool to assess proposed development and a condition for approval, also, Heritage Impact Assessments (HIA), Agricultural Impact Assessments (AIA), Traffic Impact Assessments (TIA) where deemed relevant. Here is a quote from the DPDP:
Where ESIAs, HIA, AIS or TIA (Impact Assessments) are required, they shall be completed to the satisfaction of the Chief Town Planner, prior to approval being given. Approvals of development subject to Impact Assessments may contain certain conditions of approval to ensure that adverse impacts of such development are mitigated.
We have the report of last week that an EIA is not required for the project. We have the report extracted from the DPDP that supports Impact Assessments to be completed as condition for approval by TPD. Will anybody inform the citizens of Barbados what the hell is going on?