We refer to the recent judgment handed down by Justice Indra H. Charles in respect of the Application for Judicial Review filed on behalf of Messrs. Frederick Smith QC and Carey Leonard challenging the manner in which the consultation process was conducted by the Hawksbill Creek Agreement Review Committee.
The Grand Bahama Port Authority Limited intervened in this action to ensure that the interests of all licensees were properly represented and because it had likewise earlier conveyed to the Hawksbill Creek Committee, on several occasions, fundamental concerns regarding their consultation exercise being undertaken without disclosure of the McKinsey Report to the community.
In our view, the judgment is a fair one having regard to the issues which were brought before the court, the evidence and the applicable legal principles, and will serve to helpfully inform future public consultation exercises.
The Judgment does not have a derailing effect on the progressive dialogue and negotiations which ensued between The Bahamas Government, the Port Authority and the relevant stakeholders of Freeport after the completion of the hearing before the Supreme Court.
Notwithstanding our differences concerning the consultation process, in the full spirit of cooperation, The Bahamas Government and the Port Authority and major licensees continued fruitful discussions for the implementation of arrangements to bring significant growth and job creation to the economy of Freeport and we are pleased that, prior to the delivery of this Judgment, the Government, the Port Authority and other major stakeholders successfully concluded an agreement on the way forward.
The Grand Bahama Port Authority wishes to thank The Right Honourable Prime Minister Perry Christie for his leadership and focused approach to the discussions and we are confident that the agreement that has been concluded will inure to the benefit of all licensees and lead to the continued development of Freeport for the benefit of the entire island of Grand Bahama.