State Capture thru Civil Servants: Part 2
By Henry Shillingford, Attorney at Law
This commentary postulates this "airport" is a blatant example of civil servants engaged in State Capture. I continue my commentary on this submission by sharing a letter I wrote on behalf of a client to the Chief Planner and the State Lands Officer. This is important as it came in my professional capacity. Though tumultuous to the client is just a side element of the greater illegality, I began to see it as effectively as a land grab project called the international airport. These laws made certain public servants extremely responsible; the last line against this kind of tyranny of governance is where I suggest that the government and civil servants engaged in State Capture through financial chicaneries and ghost projects like hotels. How can one element of government finance a national infrastructural asset? As proof, I have been told by sources involved that an EIA exists, which was delivered, so where is it? Why hasn't it been released? This has been totally covered up. What is necessary to be done? It is our land; is this simply not viable? I challenge the government to expose the EIA or categorically deny such EIA EXISTS, AT WHICH POINT I WILL NAME NAMES.
June 9, 2023 Dear Chief Planner, Chief Surveyor/Commissioner of Lands, I represent Mr David Shargel of Hatton Garten Estate. I recently wrote and delivered to you, Ms Chief Planner, to wit this week instant, correspondence on this matter reminding you WHAT YOUR JOB entails. You see, I wrote the Act. No Request, No Plans, No Stated Purpose, No Planning Permission, No Assessment, No EIA were done. You allowed them to begin works with NO NOTICE TO ANYONE. You knew they were coming; you were with them! Yet you didn't inform No Public Services and let your contractor, as he MUST BE, or he is a pure renegade railroad, start excavation, break the water line, and cause massive public damage onto the land preventing the Kalinago community from receiving water, for three days! Proving their incompetence, these incidences prove the whole reason for the Act, to ensure planned, organized use and development of land, especially state land, which roads must be. Your violations deprived the entire Kalinago Territory of WATER. This is an example of how you will allow your incompetent railway friends to desecrate your home, rape her land, and undermine your profession for a popsicle. I repeat that you deprived the entire Kalinago Territory of WATER on the first two days. Isn't that ominous?
After the incidents above, I wrote but did not deliver my letter to you, Mr State Lands Officer; note that I commented on your notice, which was delivered June 2, stating June 6 as the survey date. Everyone knows that two days is the minimum notice; however, as custodian of our land, given the scale of the project and impact on the immediate environment and the general amenity of rivers to Dominica. Let me remind you what you are allowing/doing; you are expanding an 11' country road along a river into a 25' sealed highway so two dumpers can traverse simultaneously; the road will cross the river by a bridge you will build to go further up the river and collect stones for an unlawful development described,
You, Mr Commissioner, for whose "the State" lands you are responsible, think that should be contemplated without a study, really, and you give two days' notice but make it sound like four when the 2nd is a Friday, the 6th the Tuesday your good heart gave the minimum., for works on that scale, With 'engineering works' already undertaken you both are pathetic you are personally breaking the law I would have to sue the government. But you are actively breaking the law, decimating our country and allowing notorious cut corners, make-believe engineers here to pulverize our holy space shame on you.
The entire airport project, of which this is but a small part, is IN BREACH OF EACH AND EVERY ELEMENT OF THE ACT. You, the public servant employed to ensure the law is not breached, are not only allowing breach BUT actively participating in its breach. Section 99 Planning Act 2000 states, 'this Act binds the State," i.e. The state is BOUND by all the requirements of this ACT' also subject to all the stipulations by which all proposed engineering works must first seek and attain planning permission before works begin. I further and more particularly remind you that Schedule II of the Act refers to specific projects of which airports are such, which are subject to even more stringent requirements, specifically an EIA.
As noted, I am writing as an Attorney of Mr Shargel, as he is the ONE aggrieved. I also write as an environmental activist to put down in writing on behalf of public law and as a citizen to put on record that YOU, Sirs, specifically Chief Planner and Mr State Lands Officer, that I KNOW and you well know this unauthorized rogue activity is part of a larger unlawful public planning and land acquisition fiasco called the international airport development.
I remind you to address your mind to PART VIII of the Planning Act, which I again paraphrase 'If planning permission is such that it devalues or substantially changes the purpose of the property by a registered proprietor as adjacent owner, the person aggrieved BY planning is entitled to compensation of HIS loss as my client feels extremely aggrieved of his entire 25-year investment. Having to quote this law to individuals of such stature, in such eminent positions of public trust, is deflating and embarrassing.
With the Greatest Disrespect & Abhorrence Henry M Shillingford
PS As you may have noted, this was written two weeks ago, but due to office confusion, it was magically not delivered. I noticed that yesterday to have it served on Friday. Like synchronicity, I got a call and video TODAY, June 29, showing excavators are now IN THE RIVER and have undermined the water system of my client, who is now without water.
The purpose of this article is to impress upon every one that one must take responsibilities very seriously. This malfeasance submitted here is by a few senior civil servants. Those MANY below them must demand better examples AND not follow them. The business middle class must back legal suits and actions to insist that the legacy and value left to them are there for the future. The time of laissez faire non engagement is over.
For democracy, especially small democracies, EVERYONE MUST BE ENGAGED. WE MUST BE OUR BROTHERS' KEEPERS.
This is the spirit of this article, to remind our public servants and trustees of the Holiness of our national natural wealth as we remind ourselves that our heritage and future are being undermined through this capture of the state's, i.e. the public wealth. We all have to insist that laws be followed, and if not, there must be mass public gatherings to insist on the same.
I submit that if this article is to have the desired effect on the responsible Dominican businessmen and women of the middle class of this society, all Dominican businesses must stand up for the basis of their wealth, DOMINICA, and publicly state that if by Emancipation Day, August 1, Planning Application for an airport at Wesley with plans is not publicly presented then they will support a mass rally until such is done. On the other hand, all Dominicans don't join together now and call for law and order by putting their bodies and lives on the line and DEMAND lawful behaviour from their servants.