Hope Country Club Housing Scheme
on the lands of the Hope Gardens Estate under the provisions of
the Housing Act.
Vivian Osmond Scott Blake, QC, OJ,
Barrister at Law
former Chief Justice of the Bahamas,
John Maxwell, CD
former Chairman of the Natural Resources Conservation Authority,
Member of the Appeals Tribunal under the NRCA Act.
To the Minister of Housing and Environment,
Hon. Easton Douglas, MP,
WE, the undersigned, wish to register the strongest possible OBJECTION
to the proposed development of the HOPE COUNTRY CLUB HOUSING SCHEME
in the Public Open Space known as the Hope Gardens Estate as outlined
in the Housing Scheme (Part of Hope Estate in the Parish of St Andrew)
Intention of Approval Notice published by the Minister in the Daily
Gleaner of November 8, 1999. Our main objections are as follows:
1. That a housing scheme on the lands designated by the Minister
is illegal, contrary to public policy, and an unwarranted infringement
of the rights of public outlined in the Kingston and St. Andrew
Development order, 1966 declaring the Hope gardens Estate from thenceforth,
Public Open Space..
2. That the declaration of a Housing Scheme on any part of
the Public Open Space defined in the Kingston and St. Andrew Development
Order 1966 by the Minister constitutes an abuse of his powers under
the Housing Act and exceeds his jurisdiction. Further,
2A. The proposal to construct housing on the said estate
is in direct contravention of the decision taken by the government
in 1991 and communicated directly to you, Mr Easton Douglas, (then
Minister of Health) in a letter from the then Deputy Prime Minister
and Minister of Finance and Planning, the Rt. Hon. P. J. Patterson,
MP, QC, PC, now Prime Minister of Jamaica.
2B. The proposed scheme is in flagrant breach of Jamaicas
obligations under the Treaty of Rio (Agenda 21) of 1992, and of
various Declarations and Conventions under that Treaty, signed by
the Prime Minister, Mr Patterson and witnessed by Mr Douglas at
the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on or about June 14,
1992, and in particular, in contravention of three of the first
four Principles of the Rio Declaration:
1. Human beings are at the centre of concerns for sustainable
development. They are entitled to a healthy and productive life
in harmony with nature.
3. The right to development must be fulfilled so as to equitably
meet developmental and environmental needs of present and future
4. In order to achieve sustainable development, environmental
protection shall constitute an integral part of the development
process and cannot be considered in isolation from it.
2C. That the proposed housing scheme is in direct and flagrant
contradiction to the solemn pledges made by the Peoples National
Party, now forming the Government of Jamaica, in its pre-election
Manifesto of 1997 in which the party solemnly proclaimed: Protecting
and conserving our islands resources is an imperative, if
we are to preserve its natural features and beauty.
Man is dependent on the integrity of the environment and there is
a sacred obligation to protect Gods earth and to preserve
the quality of life for future generations. The PNP believes that
orderly development can and must co-exist with a healthy respect
for the natural resources that sustain development. [PNP Manifesto,
1977, p .49] And the proposed housing scheme contravenes the following
specific commitments and undertakings set out in the said Manifesto
During our third term we will:
Undertake a comprehensive programme to clean up the physical
environment and to protect our beaches, watersheds, reefs and other
revitalise our national parks and gardens and establish additional
national and marine parks ? Manifesto p 49
The public, in electing the Government, had reasonable expectations
that the said pledges and commitments, particularly those relating
to the revitalising of our national parks and gardens would be honoured,
and as citizens, we now have an inherent right, as a matter of natural
justice to prevent these expectations from being disappointed and/or
destroyed by the proposed Hope Country Club on the lands of the
Hope Gardens Estate.
2D. In the Manifesto the party further undertook
to protect and safeguard our environmental heritage, thereby
protecting our fragile ecology for the benefit of future generations.
[Manifesto p.71] This pledge was entirely consistent with the Partys
claim that as government it fully recognised its responsibilities
to promote orderly development and, had
a collaborative national effort with the private sector and individual
communities, to rescue areas of the environment that are under siege.
[Manifesto p. 49]
We believe that in a democratic society ruled by law, every citizen
has the right to expect the Government to honour its obligations
and the treaties it has signed; and to respect and not repudiate
the pledges and promises it has made to the people. We believe that
every citizen has the right to demand that the government and its
ministers will defend the public interest and not seek, by subterfuge,
misrepresentation or neglect, to undermine the public trust and
to subvert the public interest as appears to be the case in the
For all of the foregoing reasons, it is our contention that the
enterprise known as the Hope Country Club cannot be in the public
interest and must be in contradiction to every pledge the Government,
its Ministers and you as Minister of Housing and Environment
in particular have made to safeguard the environment and national
We believe that the scheme should be abandoned, that the Hope Gardens
Estate should be protected from any future depredations from
any source as an essential component of the Jamaican environment,
so that Hope Gardens may serve its intended purpose, whether this
purpose may have been forgotten or submerged over the years by official
neglect, public ignorance or economic exigencies from time to time.
The Jamaican people cannot afford to surrender one inch of the Public
Open Space at the Hope Gardens Estate or anywhere else, and we should,
as the PNP manifesto states, seek to extend and revitalise
our national parks and open spaces for the preservation
of the mental health and spiritual wellbeing of our people and the
environmental quality and beauty of our island.
We agree with the PNPs manifesto that Man is dependent
on the integrity of the environment and there is a sacred obligation
to protect Gods earth and to preserve the quality of life
for future generations. As the Manifesto forthrightly declares:
The new millennium is the time to reaffirm our responsibility
to protect and enhance our environment, so that the country we hand
over to future generations, will be a better place to live in.
That time is now. It is also time to fulfil our sacred obligation
to protect Gods earth and to preserve the quality of life
for future generations.
The time is now, especially as it is clear that Hope Gardens is,
as the Manifesto puts it, under siege.
We therefore call on you as Minister responsible for the Environment,
to refuse approval for this scheme and to take steps to enshrine
and consolidate, now and for all time, the protection of the environmental
and physical integrity of the Hope Gardens Estate and of all Jamaicas
Public Open Space.
We request a hearing before you in order to elaborate on the reasons
for our objections. We would also wish to be represented by counsel
at this hearing which we hope will be held expeditiously.
We reserve the right to add to or vary the Objections herebefore
set forth, in any further proceedings relating to the establishment
of the said Housing Scheme.
Vivian O. Blake
PO. Box 762, Constant Spring
November 27, 1999
original document was signed by both objectors