(Antigua Observer) The delay in the construction of the Barbuda international airport resulting from a court-imposed interim injunction, could cost central government money.
Prime Minister Gaston Browne spoke about the issue on his radio show over the weekend.
He said a penalty clause in the agreement is what could result in more costs, but did not elaborate. However, he said he believes the court will eventually lift the injunction and the work will proceed.
On August 2, High Court judge, Rosalyn E. Wilkinson, instructed that all construction on the international airport in Barbuda be stopped immediately.
The ruling was in favour of John Mussington and Jacklyn Frank, who are acting on behalf of Barbudans affected by and opposed to what they say is the massive destruction of forests, wildlife and ecosystems, allegedly, from the construction of the airport.
We learnt over the weekend that the government filed an appeal on August 3.
Dr. David Dorsett, one of the government’s attorneys also told us that the appeal is based essentially on four grounds.
Along with the injunction, Justice Wilkinson also granted leave for the applicants to seek judicial review of the government’s decision to construct the airport.
Dr. Dorsett told us via whatsapp, that the government was denied natural justice, when the Judge failed to hear government’s counsel because the government side had not filed an affidavit.
He also indicated unreasonable delay on the part of the Barbudans in taking legal action, given that the airport project was under construction for close to a year.
Another ground of appeal is that the Judge failed to have regard for the relevant provisions of the Physical Planning Act which allows planning permission to be given after construction has started. The attorney also says that before issuing a stop order, regard has to be given to the public interest.
And the fourth ground of appeal is that there was no inquiry of the ability of the Barbudans to satisfy an undertaking in damages.
The matter is to be heard in September.