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2006-10-14 15:52:20

Discovery Land Company Wins Baker's Bay Case

A major legal victory was handed down in the Supreme Court on Thursday for the developers of the Baker's Bay project, as Supreme Court Justice Norris Carroll ruled that work on the multi-million project can resume.

This ruling, however, did not sit well with members of the Save Guana Cay Reef Association, who are prepared to take this case to the Privy Council, if the need arises. The investors of Baker's Bay have been embroiled in a legal battle with the Save Guana Cay Reef Association since last year over a number of environmental concerns. The Association argued that dredging to construct a marina would destroy 70 plus acres of mangrove, fish estuary and create further damage to the land. They also claimed that plans for a golf course would damage the environment.

The developers, however, have insisted that they have gone to great lengths to protect the natural habitat of Baker's Bay but throughout the back-and-forth legal wrangling about the $500 million Baker's Bay project, work came to a halt and hundreds of Baker's Bay workers were displaced.

The London-based. Privy Council issued an injunction, which ordered the Baker's Bay Developers to stop all physical works on the controversial project until the Supreme Court ruled on the case. Since that ruling, Baker's Bay developers attempted to have the injunction set aside, which came in response to a petition filed by the Save Guana Cay Reef Association. But in August, the Privy Council denied the developers' request.

Meanwhile, in the lengthy ruling, which came more than 8 months after the Guana Cay case had wrapped up in the Supreme Court, Justice Carroll dismissed the majority of the application filed by the Save Guana Cay Association and appellant Aubrey Clarke.

Spokesperson for the Save Guana Cay Association, Attorney Fred Smith, explained that their application for an injunction to stop work at Guana Cay until an appeal was filed may have been dismissed by Justice Carroll, but the Association will continue to press on.

"We will continue to fight and the association continues to have confidence in this case, and we will be appealing as soon as the papers are drafted," he told the national news station.

"We intend to apply to the court of appeal for an injunction in the meantime. We certainly remain committed to fighting this case all the way to the Privy Council. We are not going away. The Save Guana Cay Reef Association and Mr Aubrey Clarke will stay in the court and will pursue all legal means to protect and promote their rights."

On the other hand, Bakers Bay Senior Vice President of Environmetnal and Community Affairs, Dr Livingston Marshall, told ZNS news that the ruling was a major win for the developers.

"We are delighted and we are pleased to be back at work. We are pleased with the decision made by the courts. It recognises what we have been saying all along, which is we will not ruin the environment; we think we have a sound heads of agreement. We have been following the rules and regulations set out by law in the country and we are doing things in the best interest of the environment, the people and the project.

"We have managers and other construction leaders out at the project site, looking it over and gearing up for resumption almost immediately."

Source: The Nassau Guardian

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