Judicial review in Abaco adjourned to mid-month


Fred Smith


Tribune Freeport Reporter


THE judicial review of Responsible Development for Abaco challenging the prime minister and eight other government respondents concerning a major development at Little Harbour, Abaco was adjourned in the Supreme Court on Monday.

Fred Smith, QC, a partner in Callenders & Co law firm, has brought the review on behalf of Responsible Development for Abaco (RDA) challenging the prime minister and eight other government respondents concerning a major development at Little Harbour, Abaco. Residents fear that the huge development by the owners of Winding Bay will completely destroy the quiet Little Harbour community.

The review was scheduled to start on Monday before Justice Petra Hanna Weekes, but counsel for the respondents requested an adjournment of the proceedings for a later date for an opportunity to file its evidence.

In the meantime, the court has ordered all work to cease by the developer at Little Harbour.

During Monday’s proceedings, counsel for the respondents also filed to strike out the prime minister and some government agencies that are listed as respondents in the judicial review. They also filed a security for cost, which a defendant in an action may require of the plaintiff who does not reside within the jurisdiction of the court, for payment of such costs as might be awarded to the defendant.

Mr Smith told The Tribune that a compromise was finally reached on a date, and the court ordered the trial to commence in mid-December.

Littler Harbour, Abaco, is a 100 per cent solar-powered community. Winding Bay, a development purchased in 2014 by David Southworth, of Massachusetts, USA, is seeking to impose a huge marina for mega yachts, which will require dredging, a power generation plant, retail outlet, restaurant, reverse osmosis plant, parking lot, etc to service the distant Winding Bay development.

According to Mr Smith, homeowners have tried to engage government regulators and decision makers to allow them to be consulted on a proper basis as persons affected by the development. However, that has not happened.

The QC, who is also legal adviser to the environmental group, Save the Bays, noted that as with developments at Guana Cay, Bimini Bay, Nygard Cay, Blackbeard’s Cay, etc, the government has refused to respond to any inquiries about what permits are being considered, what applications have been made, whether any of them have been approved, and whether any Crown land has been given away.

He noted that there are statutory and other requirements for procedures related to permitting, and consultation, among other things.

Mr Smith said it seems it is now becoming a regular thing for the government to try to stifle citizens.

He said that by making plaintiffs pay security for cost means that eventually the government and developers will be able to conduct all their business “in secret,” and no one who is not a millionaire can challenge their anchor projects.

“After 50 years as an independent nation, we still don’t have transparency in government, accountability, freedom of information, or that great promise by the FNM - which they never delivered on – “government in the sunshine,” Mr Smith told The Tribune.


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