Date: December 22nd 2017
Fishermen and Friends of the Sea (FFOS) regret to inform you that it is being forced to consider injunctive relief against the Government. Below is a letter sent to counsels for the Environmental Management Authority (EMA) and the Ministry of Works and Transport, which is self-explanatory.
I am the Corporate Secretary of FFOS and I am duly authorised to send this correspondence on its behalf.
I refer to the matter at caption, in which Fisherman and Friends of the Sea (FFOS), the Intended Claimant, seeks to challenge a material decision to grant a Certificate of Environment Clearance (CEC 4952/2016) issued by the Environmental Management Authority (EMA) to the Ministry of Works and Transport (MOWT).
Fishermen and Friends of the Sea (FFOS) have recently seen a flyer (see attached) posted in small business places in Cumuto which advertises the expected “date of commencement of construction works on Package 1 of Phase 1 for the Churchill Roosevelt Highway Extension to Manzanilla Project (CRHEM) as January 2nd 2018”.
If that is the case, it would be a clear breach and contradiction of the assurances given in the first hearing in open Court on 5th October 2017. At that hearing an adjournment was requested by your counsel and our attorneys indicated that there was no objection to the adjournment if they were in a position to confirm that works would not begin before the hearing of the matter. The issue of injunctive relief if the works began before the hearing was discussed and a commitment was made by your team that no work would commence until the matter is heard. Your counsel in this matter, Josephina Mohammed, had indicated to the Court that the MOWT was not in a position to start work anytime soon because they had not yet met several of the prerequisite Terms and Conditions of the CEC. She further stated that even though a contract had been awarded, the contract had not been signed or issued to the contractor.
On November 2nd 2017 – the second Court hearing, counsel for the EMA, Deborah Peake asked for an adjournment. Justice Ramcharan stated that the granting of an adjournment will depend on when works will commence. The Ministry of Works and Transport attorney, Ian Benjamin, responded that they could not definitively state when works will begin as conditions of the CEC had not yet been met and they were not in any position to start any works for quite some time. Assurances were given to the Court that your construction works were quite far away and could not be commenced within any foreseeable date. If it were that your attorneys knew that the Ministry intended to begin works in 30 days or 60 days, then that should have been said in the open Court and it was not. As you are aware this matter is of significant public interest especially since the affected area is an EMA designated Environmentally Sensitive Area (ESA) and contains habitats which support Environmentally Sensitive Species (ESS).
We write to confirm whether these posted flyers are in fact legitimate and whether the commencement of works stated is dated accurately as stated. If this is the case, we request your reply by the end of today failing which we will be forced to seek the protection of the High Court with the incurring of unnecessary legal costs and use of judicial resources.
Respectfully and forever yours in sustainable and inclusionary development,
Gary Aboud Corporate Secretary – FFOS