Sunday, January 21, 2018

Beachfront group ‘happy over ruling’

The Charlotteville Beachfront Movement is celebrating the recent Scarborough High Court ruling against the construction of a two-storey concrete and glass Vendors Mall at Charlotteville, the group said in a media release yesterday.

Last Monday, Justice Peter Rajkumar, sitting at the Scarborough High Court, delivered a comprehensive judgment in favour of the Charlotteville Beachfront Movement and the other plaintiffs opposing the construction.

Justice Rajkumar ruled the construction illegal and ordered complete cessation of work until all necessary approvals have been met. Costs have also been ordered against the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) and are to be assessed by the court.

“We must first express our gratitude to the court for rising above attempts by the THA to obscure the matter with a Certificate of Environmental Clearance (CEC) that was entirely unfit for purpose. The judge opined that ‘by no stretch of logic could it be inferred’ such a CEC could grant the THA legal authority to proceed with the project. Every other excuse for this illegal project proffered by the THA was struck down,” the Movement said.

The group said the THA had rejected the suggestion by the court that an agreement between parties might be possible.

“This indicates clearly that the clarity and force of the judgment as delivered on Monday have not persuaded the THA towards a path of dialogue. We take this opportunity to reiterate our support for legal progress in Charlotteville in keeping with our unique environment and ambience. We want our community to remain clean, green and serene,” the group said.

It said it expected the THA to continue to attempt to impose its plans without consultation or explanations.

“We are ready. They have been mandated by the court to obtain prior approvals from the Environmental Management Authority, Town and Country Planning Division and other agencies of the State. We will continue to monitor and respond to all such applications, demanding compliance with all legal requirements. We will take other actions as necessary and appropriate, commencing immediately,” the group stated.

The Express attempted to reach THA Chief Secretary Orville London for comment, but calls to his cellphone went unanswered.