By Orville Williams
Antigua and Barbuda (Antigua Observer) – Questions about the integrity of the process through which approval was granted for the construction of the international airport in Barbuda dominated yesterday’s Privy Council hearing on the matter.
The case was brought to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council – Antigua and Barbuda’s final appellate court – by two local Barbudans, Jacklyn Frank and John Mussington, who have been fighting against the airport’s construction on the grounds that it threatens the sanctity of the environment.
The pair found some success in the High Court back in 2018 when Justice Rosalyn Wilkinson granted an interim injunction ordering the immediate cessation of construction work, after the lawyer representing them filed an application for leave for judicial review of the efforts to construct the airport.
That application sought to address, among other things, concerns about non-compliance on the part of the government – and the Development Control Authority (DCA) in particular – with requirements under the Physical Planning Act 2003.
However, around a month later, the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) ordered the lifting of the injunction, freeing work on the airport to resume.
Subsequent appeals filed in the ECSC by Frank and Mussington’s legal team were unsuccessful, and the duo was also refused conditional leave in 2021 to appeal the matter at the Privy Council, as they were deemed not to have the required standing.