Mon | Dec 18, 2017

Judge refuses to lift injunction against NEPA

Published:Thursday | August 31, 2017 | 12:00 AMMark Titus
Arlene Harrison Henry

WESTERN BUREAU:

Justice Georgiana Fraser has refused an affidavit to lift an injunction contesting the National Environment and Planning Agency's (NEPA) decision to allow Westmoreland businessman Andrew Williams to establish a liquid petroleum gas plant in a residential community and has set the matter to be heard in the Supreme Court in April 2018.

The attorney general, the Westmoreland Parish Council, NEPA, the National Resource Conservation Authority (NRCA), the Town and Country Planning Authority, and businessmen Andrew and Hubert Williams will be the respondents.

The matter was brought to the fore by The Sunday Gleaner, which, last year, highlighted the fact that residents in a section of Llandilo, known as Farm Pen, were apprehensive about the establishment of the facility, which includes a block-making plant, being so close to their houses.

In defending NEPA's move, Peter Knight, the agency's chief executive officer, said approval was given after the suitability of the site and the impact on the neighbourhood had been determined, with only one objection based on health concerns.

 

HAND-DELIVERED OBJECTIONS

 

However, returning resident Ashton Pitt, whose property is closest to the development, said he was not consulted, and although he had hand-delivered several letters of objection, including to Bertel Moore, chairman of the Westmoreland Municipal Corporation, he had received no response.

Public Defender Arlene Harrison Henry subsequently launched a probe into the matter after receiving an official complaint from Pitt and making a subsequent determination, based on another report, that his rights were being violated.

The public defender's report also charged that the local government body, which is chaired by Moore, should explain, among other things, its failure to respond to a letter of objection to the commercial development in the area or to even forward the objection to NEPA for evaluation.

"The safety of the community has not been carefully considered and stands to be greatly compromised as the development has inherent, hazardous features," the report stated.

The public defender also suggested that the developer, Andrew Williams, find a more suitable location for his operation, but NEPA disagreed and granted the defendant the green light to operate.

Pitt then sought and was granted an injunction and leave to go to the Judicial Review Court to apply for an order to quash the decision. He was represented by Ian Wilkinson and Lenroy Stewart, of Wilkinson Law.

Attorneys-at-law Mojorn Wallock and Deborah Lee-Shung represented the NRCA and NEPA; Jeneive Subdul-Williams represented developers Hubert and Andrew Williams; and Canute Brown for the Westmoreland Municipal Corporation.