By AVA TURNQUEST
Tribune Chief Reporter
SUPREME Court Justice Cheryl Grant-Thompson has granted leave for shanty town residents to amend their judicial review application to include grounds that the government failed to consult them.
In an order on Friday, Justice Grant-Thompson also gave leave to include those grounds in their application for constitutional relief, as well as interlocutory – or during the course of their legal action.
Their application for discovery in the matter was expected to be heard on Friday, but the matter was adjourned to June 6 after the government submitted two hefty affidavits by Labour Minister Dion Foulkes and Ministry of Works building control officer Craig Delancy on Thursday.
“In making the decisions and formulating the policy, the applicants were denied procedural fairness by the government respondents’ failure to consult with them sufficiently or at all”, the amended JR application read.
“First, the policy appears to have been formulated, and at least the possession decision taken, before any consultation was attempted. Second, all activities that might be described as ‘consultation’ were inadequate or insufficient,” it continued.
“Third, to the extent that the government respondents did consult, they did not do so prepared to change course if persuaded to do so, but rather on the basis that the policy and the decision were a fait accompli.”
Non-profit group Respect Our Homes Limited (ROHL) and 177 shanty town residents are seeking to ventilate concerns the government’s “eradication policy” and subsequent evictions are unlawful, unconstitutional, and motivated by ethnic discrimination without clear title to land ownership.
Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis, Attorney General Carl Bethel, Labour Minister Dion Foulkes, Public Works Minister Desmond Bannister, Bahamas Power and Light, and the Water and Sewerage Corporation are listed as the respondents.