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Environmental Impact Assessments
Justice delayed is justice denied

Justice delayed is justice denied

Date: October 27th 2017

Dear Editor/Newsroom,
In 2014 Fishermen and Friends of the Sea (FFOS) (the Claimant) judicially reviewed the Environment Management Authority’s (EMA’s) decision to issue a Certificate of Environmental Clearance (CEC) to Petrotrin to conduct an oil /gas seismic survey without the requirement of an Environmental Impact Assessment.

The matter was heard before Justice Kangaroo on 15th and 16th of June 2015, and on 2nd July 2015. Judgment was delivered orally on the 4th March 2016, 8 months after the hearing. FFOS had already filed a Notice of Appeal on 15th April 2016, one month after the Oral Judgement was delivered but was delayed because FFOS was waiting on the final written judgement. The written judgment was given four months after the oral judgment, on 4th July 2016.

Presently, 18 months after the oral judgement, the “CAT Reporters, Court Transcriptionists, Scopists, Court Audio Records Officers and competent administrative support personnel” have been unable to provide the required transcripts of the Oral Judgement to the Claimant(FFOS). The request for these transcripts was made since June 2016, 16 months ago. The matter cannot proceed because of the inability/mismanagement of the Court personnel to provide this critical transcript. In response to the failure of the Court to produce the request of the transcript of the oral judgement, a request was made in early September 2017 for the CD of the audio recording of the trial and judgement.

Today, we still have not yet received neither the transcript nor the CD from the CAT Reporters Section of the Court, yet the EMA continues to grant more and more CECs for oceanographic mapping/siesmic discharges without knowledge of the impacts these seismic surveys have on our marine ecosystem. We contend these impacts are crippling our fisherfolk.

This matter is of significant public interest because it affects the fishers and ecosystems who are both without a voice. Through the incapacities of the Court we have been stuck without recourse while every month more and more seismic applications are being approved and there is no scientific basis for understand the impact.

Meanwhile, to make matters worse, new studies have been published, (which are not before the Court), which confirm that these seismic explosions cause serious long term impact on lower food chain organisms, the first link in the food chain. This confirms our fishers’ knowledge over the decades that “there is nothing left in the sea to catch” after a seismic survey event.

The Honourable Chief Justice has a duty to ensure that the Judicial Services required for the application of the Law are provided by his officers in a timely manner to those seeking redress. This Court neglect/delay is compounding the problem and depriving Justice to thousands of fishers.

FFOS respectfully call on the Honorable Chief Justice to immediately address this judicial inefficiency which is causing deprivation and hardship to our fisherfolk and the marine environment.

Sincerely,

Gary Aboud Corporate Secretary

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