FFOS defends the right to information
Date: June 12th, 2019
Today 12th June 2019, Fishermen and Friends of the Sea (FFOS) have filed a High Court Judicial Review action with eminent Queens Counsel challenging the decision of the Environmental Management Authority (EMA) to deny the public and civil society groups (like FFOS) complete copies of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) reports. The matter has been assigned to Justice Devindra Rampersad. FFOS await a date of hearing.
FFOS have been compelled once again to intervene in the mismanagement of our nation by the denial of public-spirited bodies from lawfully and meaningfully participating in the nations developmental aspirations.
Recently the EMA adopted a position of only copying 10% of an EIA, thereby crippling FFOS and other civic-minded organizations to meaningfully participate with technical and scientific guidance in the decision-making process embodied in the Certificate of Environmental Clearance (CEC) Rules, 2001 of the Environmental Management Act, 2000. An EIA is often thousands of pages in length and covers a varied range of technical, environmental and scientific matters that often require inter-disciplinary expertise. Due to limited availability of local technical experts, FFOS would and have in the past 20+ years sent these EIA reports to technical organizations and scientific experts in different continents of the world to provide scientific and technical advice.
FFOS insist that civil society has a meaningful part to play in the developmental process of our nation and should not be debarred from doing so.
This confrontational Judicial standoff was completely avoidable, but regretfully, our pleadings to the EMA to continue to provide us with full copies of the EIA have fallen on deaf ears.
FFOS have every hope that this matter would be Judicially resolved whereby civil society organizations can continue to contribute meaningfully and participate as we have over these past decades to our Nation’s development aspirations in the sustainable development and protection of our environment.