Barbudans Jacklyn Frank and John Mussington say they will not relent in their fight to preserve Barbuda’s heritage and will be renewing their application directly to the Privy Council in London.
This move comes after the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal refused the duo permission to take an application for judicial review to the Privy Council.
The matter concerns a decision by the Government, via the Antigua and Barbuda Airport Authority, to allow construction of an airport in a part of the sister-island considered to be geologically and environmentally sensitive.
Mussington and Frank were hoping the Privy Council would review a previous Court of Appeal decision that upheld an earlier High Court judgment, which removed an injunction against the construction.
They were seeking conditional leave to appeal to the Privy Council. But in its ruling on Tuesday, October 19, the Appeals Court denied leave, which has now forced the Barbudans to undertake the direct route.
Mussington says that both he and Frank are extremely disappointed with the court’s refusal.
“This case raises fundamental questions of public importance across the whole region, especially who has the right to challenge the Government or big business when it comes to protecting our environment,” a statement from the two says.
Both he and Frank believe the court made a serious error on the issue of standing (locus standi), and that this needs to be considered by the Privy Council.
In August 2018, the pair were granted an injunction and leave to pursue a judicial-review case against the parties for failing to follow the law with regard to the Physical Planning Act, 2003.
Mussington says that their lawyers have already been given instructions to proceed directly to the higher court, since it was anticipated that Barbudans would have to take their fight to London.
Allegations have been made that the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) submitted by the developers in November 2017 was seriously inadequate, according to Department of the Environment documents.
Mussington has claimed that the lands on which the airport is being constructed were traditionally used by Barbudans for hunting, farming, grazing, and were the habitat of the rare red-footed tortoise and the feeding grounds for the Barbudan Fallow deer.