Barbuda Airport injunction lifted

The injunction that stood in the way of the construction of a new airport terminal in Barbuda was lifted yesterday, paving the way for work to resume on the project.

The unanimous judgment was delivered via video conference and read by Justice of Appeal Davidson Baptiste who spoke on behalf of Mario Michel, Paul Webster Q.C., and himself.

Dr. David Dorsett, one of the attorneys representing the government, has described the decision as a victory.

 He said, “The Court decided that the appeal would be allowed, the injunction would be discharged on the principle that the right to be heard is a sacrosanct right and what the judge did in not hearing counsel for the government side was a material blow on that particular principle and so the appeal was allowed.“

Dr. Dorsett pointed out that yesterday’s ruling means that there is no legal impediment hindering the continuation of the construction which is set to resume as soon as possible.

The appellants were the Development Control Authority, the Attorney General and the Antigua and Barbuda Airport Authority.

On August 2, High Court judge, Rosalyn E. Wilkinson, instructed that all construction on the international airport in Barbuda be stopped immediately until further notice.

The ruling was in favour of Marine Biologist John Mussington and Jacklyn Frank, both of Barbuda, who filed the civil case challenging the construction for a number of reasons.

The applicants claimed that the Department of Environment warned the government of environmental risks, yet the Development Control Authority and the Antigua and Barbuda Airport Authority continued with the development.

They cited various breaches of the process, massive destruction of forests, wildlife and ecosystems, loss of archeological and prehistoric sites; hydrogeological issues, failure to complete required environmental impact assessments, incomplete submission of proposed plans and failure to receive Barbuda Council approval of the proposed plans.

To date, at least 7,100 ft., spanning west to east of once virgin forest lands in Barbuda have been cleared for the construction of the airport.