Leading environmental group congratulates RDA on obtaining leave to apply for judicial review proceedings over controversial marina project
The Supreme Court’s decision to grant concerned locals permission to apply for a judicial review of the Abaco Club’s proposed marina project has been hailed as another milestone in the cause of responsible development in The Bahamas.
Social and environmental advocacy group Save The Bays (STB) congratulated the residents of Little Harbor for insisting that government follow the law and ensure that developers consult local communities that may be affected by their projects.
Legal director for STB, Fred Smith, QC, who is representing community partner Responsible Development for Abaco (RDA) in the case, says activists will continue to resort to the courts for relief until government learns to respect local rights.
“No one is against development; all that we are asking is that developers consult with the community which their projects are going to effect. Not only is it the fair and just approach, it is also the approach mandated by law.
“The government, which bears responsibility for ensuring that the laws of The Bahamas are carried out, should be defending public consultation more than anyone else. Instead, the current administration is seeking to amend the very progressive Planning and Subdivisions Act (PSA), which gives locals the right to have a say in what sort of community they will live in.”
Smith said that while Little Harbor – a small, 50-home community that runs almost entirely off solar power – represents an encouraging trend of Bahamians and residents coming together to stand in defense of their legal rights, the “astounding failure” of several government agencies to follow the law in this case continues to be replicated across the length and breadth of The Bahamas.
“The people of Little Harbor have demonstrated that they are at the forefront of a movement for change that is much needed in this country. We hail their courage could not be more proud to be partnering with them and with RDA in this effort,” he said.
“At the same time, the stubborn, anti-progressive stance of both the developer and the government is nothing new and part of a regressive trend that unfortunately, does not seem to be going away anytime soon.”
Smith said that STB will continue to work with concerned residents and advocacy groups to defend local rights and fight against environmentally destructive unregulated development – just as it has done in Bimini, Blackbeard’s Cay, Treasure Cay, Grand Bahama, Clifton Bay and several other locations around The Bahamas over the last three years.