CPA to appeal Boggy Sand’s judicial review decision

ACP President Ian Pairaudeau

(CNS): At a meeting on Tuesday afternoon August 30, the Central Planning Authority (CPA) decided to appeal the decision of Judge Alistair Walters regarding the power of the National Conservation Council to order the refusals planning in certain circumstances. There ‘Swamp Sand Case‘ pitted two government entities against each other to clarify the legislation, but it has now taken an overtly political turn.

The CNS has contacted all relevant parties, including Planning Minister Jay Ebanks, who is now directly challenging government policy led by Prime Minister and Sustainability Minister Wayne Panton, and we are awaiting a response. The Ministry of Sustainable Development and Climate Resilience acknowledged receipt of our request and officials said they were responding.

Minutes of what appears to have been a special meeting held to discuss the matter were posted on the Planning Ministry website on Friday morning. The document says: “In the case of the National Conservation Council v Central Planning Authority, Grand Court Case G 207 of 2021, the Central Planning Authority decided to appeal against the judgment of the judge (acting ) Walters, rendered August 23, 2022, at the Cayman Islands Court of Appeal.

The minutes also state that the APC was informed by Director of Planning, Haroon Pandohie, that confirmation had been received from the Director General of the Ministry of Planning, Eric Bush, “that sufficient funding was available to move the appeal forward, if the APC was so.”

The judicial review was brought by the NCC when the CPA ignored a directive to deny planning permission for a property on Boggy Sand Beach that posed a threat to the marine park. But the court’s findings had wider ramifications.

The court ruling was intended to settle the ongoing dispute between the NCC and the planning board over the NCC’s powers under the National Conservation Act to make decisions when specific species or habitats are threatened by problematic development. This has always been a fundamental objective of the legislation, which was led by parliament by Panton in December 2013 when he was environment minister in the then PPM-led coalition government.

The CPA’s decision to take the decision to the Court of Appeal in what was already an unprecedented and delicate situation for the government has now raised many more questions about the collective responsibility of the Cabinet and the support of the Minister of Government policy planning.

Bringing the dispute to judicial review might have seemed reasonable to help the CPA manage appeals to the Planning Appeal Tribunal by applicants who had been denied planning permission following a directive of the NCC.

But now challenging that clarity means the CPA has gone beyond the need to protect itself in scheduling calls. The politically appointed board is now challenging the law, supported by the current government, but above all its sustainability policy.

Check back to CNS for updates on this breakup story.

See the ACP minutes in the CDS Libraryas posted Friday.