by Linda Straker
- 3 tourism developments presently taking place in “sensitive coastal areas”
- Mt Hartman Development, Levera Development and Six Sense projects are all CBI approved projects
- NGO legal consultant is former High Court Judge Rita Joseph-Olivetti
A non-governmental organisation has brought a legal claim for Judicial Review against the Planning and Development Authority (PDA) requesting that the Court review the Authority’s decisions to provide permission for the development of the 3-tourism development which collectively are valued at more than US$1 billion in investment.
The 3 mega tourism developments presently taking place in what the group labelled as “sensitive coastal areas” are the Mt Hartman Development project in St George, the Levera Development project in St Patrick, and the Six Senses project in St David. They are all Citizenship By Investment (CBI) approved projects.
The legal consultant for the NGO, Grenada Land Actors, which was registered a few weeks ago, is former High Court Judge Rita Joseph-Olivetti. The first hearing is scheduled to take place on 24 June 2021 (by Zoom link due to Covid-19 measures).
Carlton Frederick Chairman of the PDA has confirmed that legal documents were served on the Authority, and the Ministry of Legal Affairs is handling the matter. He is unable to provide further details about the legal matter due to Public Service protocol. “Everything is being handled by the Ministry of Legal Affairs, so please contact the Office of the Attorney General,” said Frederick.
According to the Grenada Land Actors (GLA), a Judicial Review claim is a specific type of legal action that enables a person or group to ask the Court to review decisions taken by a public body. “In our case, the public body is the Planning and Development Authority, a statutory body established under Section 5 of the Physical Planning and Development Control Act 2016. The Authority is responsible for the implementation of the Act,” explained the release.
“One of the main purposes of the Act, as expressed in Section 3, is to ensure that appropriate and sustainable use is made of all publicly owned and privately owned land in Grenada, in the public interest. Furthermore, the Act describes the Authority in Section 38 as “the national service for the identification, protection, conservation and rehabilitation of the natural and cultural heritage of Grenada, in accordance with the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation’s (UNESCO) Convention for the protection of the World’s Cultural and Natural Heritage to which Grenada is a Party,” said the statement from the GLA.
One of the projects is taking place on formerly private property, while the other two are on state lands.
The GLA is requesting that the Court review the Authority’s decisions, in the light of the information on the three developments that GLA has compiled and put before it, and to determine whether those decisions accord with law and the provisions of the Act. “What we have observed does raise questions as to whether the decisions taken by the Authority were lawful, unreasonable or for some improper reason. This is what a Judicial Review seeks to establish. We are now guided by the Court’s determination and we are not at liberty to offer further comment on the specific issues before the Court,” said the press release from the GLA.
“We are championing the cause for equitable, inclusive, and sustainable development of Grenada’s land resources. Recognising the crucial role that land plays for poverty alleviation, human wellbeing and dignity, our mission is to monitor land governance in Grenada and to ensure that citizens’ rights and interests are placed at the centre of land governance,” said the ‘About Section’ of Grenada Land Actors Facebook page.
“Our goal is to ensure developer transparency, public oversight, and government accountability. To achieve this goal, the platform welcomes the diverse voices of all Grenadians — at home and abroad, urban and rural, young and old — to bring forward constructive solutions,” the organisation’s social media page said.