Categorized | National News

Coconut Grove Businesses Headed To Privy Council

The Coconut Grove Business League (CGBL) has been given the green light to take its legal fight all the way to the Privy Council.

On Monday, the Court of Appeal (COA) gave the group permission to take its appeal before the London-based high court.

The CGBL, which is comprised of some 50 businesses in the Baillou Hill Road and Market Street area, wants the Privy Council to uphold an earlier Supreme Court decision which awarded the group damages.

The league has been embroiled in a legal battle with the government over the road reversal system that changed parts of the Baillou Hill Road and Market Street corridors into one-way traffic systems.

Etheric Bowe, spokesperson for the CGBL, said the decision follows a lengthy legal battle which was further compounded by problems with the court’s record keeping.
Many business owners along the affected areas have complained that the road changes have caused their establishments to suffer tremendous losses.

Some owners have even claimed that they have had to shut down their establishments.
The appellate court had initially thrown out the application but after it discovered that errors were made in the court’s records, the court apologised and granted the application.

“Our argument very simply is that judges ought to have discretion which has already been ruled on by the Privy Council because they ruled that in murder cases you can’t automatically sentence someone to death; judges must have discretion,” Mr. Bowe said.

“Our argument very simply is a judge is a judge is a judge. If a judge ought to have discretion in a life or death situation, then surely they can have discretion in more mundane matters.”

Mr. Bowe said the Court of Appeal’s decision now sets the wheels in motion for those businesses greatly impacted to be given the compensation they are lawfully entitled to.

“It’s a well-established doctrine in common law that if you break something you are responsible for fixing it,” said Mr. Bowe. “The government can take your property, the government can change the directions of the road, the government can come there and take your business but then they have to pay you because you have projected that business going on forever.”

The roads were converted to one-way traffic systems as a part of the government’s New Providence Road Improvement Project (NPRIP).

Similar complaints were raised from business owners in the Prince Charles Drive area during the work, who, too alleged that the ongoing works had greatly impacted their businesses.

Mr. Bowe noted the court’s ruling could have implications for those businesses beyond Market Street and Baillou Hill Road.

“Businesses that went out of business on Baillou Hill Road and Market Street and the flood gates will be opened to include Robinson Road, Prince Charles and all the other roads that they killed businesses on they will then have a clear claim to follow and they too have to be compensated,” he said.

“Businesses that still exist but are operating at a much lower level will have to be compensated. So there is going to be a lot of work for accountants and we will need more money than this batch is able to deliver and we are going to need to reassess all of that.”

Written by Jones Bahamas

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