Court cases update May 2019
There are currently three (3) cases before the Courts, two are in the Appeal section and one at the High Court level.
1.Trevor Walker, Mackenzie Frank, Wayde Burton and Barbuda Council v Attorney General
1.1 This case was filed in the high court in Antigua in October 2018 and challenges the repeal of the Barbuda Land Act 2007 and the Barbuda Act 2018, which replaced the 2007 Act.
1.2 The provision of the 2007 Barbuda Land Act was "to confirm that all lands in Barbuda are owned in common by the people of Barbuda" And to "vest the land in the crown on behalf of the people".
1.3 The Council is part of the action because its powers to administer lands were taken away by the Crown Regulations Act 2018.
1.4 An injunction to prevent the Government implementing the new Act was denied in December 2018, on the grounds that a hearing would take place in January 2019. The hearing did not take place and Justice Olivette has left the jurisdiction.
- 2016 Trevor Walker, Mackenzie Frank and 110 Petioners v Attorney General and Paradise Found
2.1 This case is a Constitutional motion. It was filed in June 2016 in the High Court of Antigua. It challenges the provisions of the Paradise Found Act 2015. This Act tried to give Robert De Niro and James Packer:
I) A lease for 140 years
2) Additional lands totalling 555 acres
3) Circumvention of the 2007 Barbuda Land Act which requires the people's consent be given before any land can be alienated.
2.2 There has being a judgement in this case - Justice Roslyn Wilkinson ruled that:
a) that the land is owned in common by the people
b) that the land is vested in the Crown as a Trustee for all Barbudans present and future.
c) that all Barbudans have an individual and collective right to lands in Barbuda.
d) that the Government has a fiduciary responsibility to the people, to protect their interest in the land, inform them of any proposed changes and seek their consent.
2.3 The Antiguan Government has appealed this judgement. The case is awaiting a decision from the Appeals section of the Eastern Caribbean Court. The final court of appeal is the Privy Council in London.
- 2015 Mackenzie Frank v Attorney General, Barbuda Council and Paradise Found.
3.1 This case sought Judicial review of lands totalling 1255 acres given to Paradise Found without following the procedures set out in the Barbuda Land Act 2007.
3.2 These procedures include:
a) publication of the project proposal 15 days before the village meeting
b) supply of drawings, financial projections, design of buildings.
c) proper voting at meeting including a secret ballot.
d) period of lease restricted to 50 years in first instance.
e) only Barbudans are allowed to vote.
All the above rules were broken.
3.3 Judge Brian Cottle ruled in favour of the Government. This judgement was appealed. It will remain in the Appeal court until the above Constitutional case is decided.