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Trust: Injunction Highlights 'Lack Of Transparency'

By NATARIO McKENZIE

Tribune Business Reporter

nmckenzie@tribunemedia.net

Bahamas National Trust (BNT) executives said it was “gratifying” that the Privy Council decided to grant the injunction halting Resorts World Bimini’s dredging activities, arguing that this further highlighted the “complete lack of transparency” surrounding the project.

BNT executive director Eric Carey, in a brief interview with Tribune Business, said: “We have been asking the Government to make sure that what is being done is done properly.

“We have some of the same concerns expressed by some of the other groups. We are pleased by the Privy Council’s decision. It was the court documents and not anything from the BEST Commission which revealed that the company had requested and received approval to increase the dredging scope threefold.

“There is a lot of information that is being found out by the wayside. It seems as if this process is being carried out with very careless environmental standards. There are a lot of unanswered questions, and for a project that has so much at risk in Bimini, that is concerning.”

The London-based Privy Council, the Bahamas’ highest appellate court, on Friday granted Bimini Blue Coalition’s injunction application to stop the dredging activities, reversing a decision by the Bahamas Court of Appeal on Monday.

Mr Carey added: “We are encouraged by the injunction. It will make everyone take a step back and reveal everything in the public domain.”

And Lawrence Glinton, BNT’s president, said: “What we think the injunction demonstrates is the complete lack of transparency relative to this project. It’s gratifying that the Privy Council has made this decision.”

Last Monday, the Court of Appeal, by a majority decision of two to one, refused to grant Bimini Blue Coalition’s request for an injunction against dredging activities in North Bimini as part of constructing a cruise ship terminal and 1,000-foot pier and man-made island.

In their ruling, Court of Appeal president Anita Allen and Justice Neville Adderley refused the injunction, while Justice Abdulai Conteh dissented, arguing that the injunction should be allowed.

In seeking an injunction, the Coalition had claimed that the developers failed to uphold an undertaking they made not to dredge until they had notified the Coalition that they had all necessary permits or approvals, and provided copies to them.

In a statement released on Friday following the Privy Council’s decision, Resorts World Bimini said: “Resorts World Bimini has temporarily ceased its dredging operation in accordance with the Privy Council injunction.

“We have all permits in hand and will provide the necessary documentation to lift the injunction expeditiously so that we can continue to provide Biminites with jobs, complete the construction of the cruise pier and open the full destination resort that Biminites and tourist alike are looking forward to.”

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