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By Aabigayle McIntosh
The Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda remains confident that the smaller of the two islands will have an international airport despite a series of legal wranglings.
“My understanding is this is not the substantive case so even if they were to win this particular aspect of the case it does not give them any right to stop the operations of the airport. The question is whether or not they had the legal right to take the matter to court. We will await the judgment,” Browne said.
Government lead Attorney Dr. David Dorsett has emphasized that the case brought before the Privy Council by Barbuda residents John Mussington and Jacklyn Frank will not determine the propriety of the government’s actions in proceeding with the development of the new airport in Barbuda.
According to Dorsett, the Privy Council’s judgment will not address whether the government or its agencies acted appropriately in granting permission for the construction, which is now nearly completed.
Instead, the focus of the ruling has been narrowed to the question of whether the litigants, Mussington and Frank, have the legal standing to bring the matter to court. Dorsett highlighted that the case had been dismissed by both the High Court and the Eastern Caribbean Appeals Court in earlier stages.
“The Privy Council is making a crucial decision on whether the two Barbuda residents have the legal standing or capacity to bring a claim challenging the actions of the Development Control Authority (DCA) and, primarily, the Airport Authority, which played a significant role in granting permission for the new airport in Barbuda,” Dorsette clarified.
He further explained that issues such as the granting of permission, the presence of an environmental study, or the consideration of whether the already-built airport should be dismantled are not within the scope of the Privy Council’s decision.