PROCEED: Supreme Court refuses third-party application to dismiss shantytown judicial review

PROCEED: Supreme Court refuses third-party application to dismiss shantytown judicial review
The Mudd, Abaco, following Hurricane Dorian in September 2019.

Ruling expected on Friday on varying existing injunction to cover all shantytowns

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The Supreme Court yesterday denied third-party applicants who sought to be added to the judicial review centered on the demolition of the shantytowns and have the matter dismissed.

James Roosevelt Thompson & Company applied to add Gregory Bowe of San Andros and Shawn Nixon of Marsh Harbour as third-party applicants in a bid to lift the injunction blocking the demolition of shantytown structures.

The intended applicants also sought to have the commissioner of police added to the matter.

In a ruling handed down yesterday, Justice Sherly Grant-Thompson refused the request to have the commissioner added. She noted that the respondents provided “extensive submissions” relative to the commissioner not being added as an appropriate party.

The judge said if the local government was to be added as an essential party in the application, the respondents and not the intended applicants should be the party seeking to have them joined.

But she said the intended applicants did not satisfy the court that the judicial review application presently before the court should be set aside.

In March, the judge dismissed the summons and application to set aside the entire action with costs.

She said counsel then sought to withdraw the summons after she had already ruled.

She said she would not go behind that ruling and unless advised otherwise by the Court of Appeal, the ruling stands.

The judge said she was of the view that the clients represented by Thompson are “rapidly moving into a class of vexatious litigants”.

“I say no more,” read the ruling.

“The court will not extend any additional time to Mr Thompson nor his client on this point relative to dismantling the substantive application before the court.”

The judge ordered that costs associated with the application be taxed if not agreed by both parties.

The court, which has heard arguments from counsel for the respondents and those representing Respect our Homes Limited and the 177 shantytown applicants, is expected to hand down a ruling in whether to vary the injunction to cover shantytowns across The Bahamas tomorrow.

The respondents named were Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis, Minister of Labour Dion Foulkes, Minister of Public Works Desmond Bannister, Attorney General Carl Bethel, Bahamas Power and Light and the Water and Sewerage Corporation.

The judge provided an oral ruling on March 25.

The judge said the majority of time set aside by the parties to address the interlocutory issues was consumed by counsel for the intended applicants, Thompson.

The judge said she was of the view that when summon was filed on February 10, the learned senior counsel should have been aware of the evidence he would seek to rely on and what the particulars of his instructions were.

“I gave the intended applicants the time they required but having listened carefully to the submissions and having read the pleadings, I will no longer allow them to distract from the hearing of the substantive application,” read the ruling.

“Given the nature of the substantive application and having regard to the court ruling on March 22, 2021, in this regard, the court was not prepared to delay further.

“I am reminded of the old adage, ‘justice delayed is indeed justice denied’.