Friday 17 November, 2017

National Trust Preparing For Pigeon Island Legal Battle

The St. Lucia National Trust is preparing for a legal battle against the government over a decision by the Development Control Authority (DCA) regarding an application for a change of land use for the Pigeon Island National Park.

Dolphin Discovery, developers of a proposed dolphinarium at the landmark, applied to the DCA for an ‘approval in principle’ to change the land use of the landmark and ‘approval in principle’ for the project concept.

The Trust director, Bishnu Tulsie, at last Saturday’s 41st Annual General Meeting of the Trust somewhat shocked members with the news that the ‘approval in principle’ for the change of land use asked for was granted to the developers.

The Trust has all along been against the construction of a dolphinarium at Pigeon Island and has been looking into every option to prevent it becoming a reality.

This is not the first time the Trust has shown its unwillingness to cooperate in a project of this kind at the landmark. Earlier this year the public joined with Trust members in unleashing a firestorm of protest when the proposal to build the dolphinarium was mooted by the developers.

The proposal has the backing of government, a point made clear by Prime Minister Allen Chastanet, who on a recent trip to Mexico acknowledged having met with the developers.

The ‘approval in principle’ for the change of land use has rattled the Trust, as noted by Tulsie on Saturday. He said the application for the change of land use has been approved but not the one for the project concept.

“As far as we know the land use change has been approved in principle. The concept has not been approved and we do not know what it is the Cabinet will be considering when it goes before them,” Tulsie said.

He said that a foreign-based firm had shown a willingness to provide legal representation to the Trust pro bono in its challenge to an application made by the developers. Further, three local attorneys have given an indication to join the Trust’s legal battle.

A new set of councillors were elected Saturday to continue in the preservation of the nation’s patrimony that is under the control of the Trust.

They now have the task of preparing for the upcoming legal battle to stop the construction of the dolphinarium at the landmark should its investors get the green light from government, including the DCA, to go ahead with the project.

Tulsie said the fact that there are attorneys willing to do the required legal work pro bono has encouraged the Trust to start looking forward to starting the process.

 

Photo By Sbraden92 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons