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Business To Take Roadworks Battle To Privy Council

By NATARIO McKENZIE

Tribune Business Reporter

nmckenzie@tribunemedia.net

BUSINESS owners who took the Government to court over Baillou Hill Road and Market Street's transformations into one-way streets say they plan on taking their case to the Privy Council, a spokesman telling Tribune Business yesterday that the message needs to be made clear that "the Government has to obey the laws as well".

The Coconut Grove Business League (CBGL), raised its voices in protest more than a year ago against the new traffic system, which made Baillou Hill Road one-way northbound and Market Street one-way south-bound, citing the negative impact this had on their businesses.

The group of some 50 companies took their fight to court, and last December secured a victory in the Supreme Court against the Government over the road changes, only to see that decision overturned by the Court of Appeal. With the latter's written judgment now in hand, the group plans to take its case to the Privy Council.

When asked whether the group would now pursue an appeal in the higher court, Ethric Bowe, spokesman for the Coconut Grove Business League (CGBL), told Tribune Business yesterday: "That is the talk. We have to meet and we will decide when and how we go from here. My advice to the group would be to do that, because this is a human rights issue more than anything else. We really ought to get this sorted out. We need to make it very clear that the Government has to obey the laws as well."

Rupert Roberts, owner of the SuperValue supermarket chain, who had one store directly affected by the Baillou Hill Road and Market Street road changes, and another by Robinson Road roadworks, told Tribune Business: "The plan is to go to the Privy Council.

"We were just waiting on the judgment. I don't know why it was so far delayed. I would think that our losses would be about $3 million, that's both stores for the whole time."

Mr Roberts added: "When the roads are completed, we are not going to have any different roads. We are going to have smoother roads until they dig them up again. The smoothness is not worth the money we dished out. I don't see any great improvement."

Arnold Heastie, owner of Heastie's Service Station, told Tribune Business: "We just got the judgment late last week. They took a long time getting it to us. We will have to meet with our lawyer and see what our lawyers say, but we want to take it to the Privy Council."

Mr Heastie estimated that his business has suffered losses in the "hundreds of thousands. I can't really give an exact figure because I am still losing; my business is still down 30 per cent."

Cost overruns have forced the Government to seek a further $12.5 million in debt financing from the Inter American Development Bank (IDB) for the New Providence Road Improvement Project, taking total borrowing up to possibly as much as $155 million.

"The supplementary financing is required to complete the New Providence Transport Program, and will principally fund cost overruns arising on the road development component of the program, which seeks to improve the critical main roads in New Providence," according to the IDB.

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