Planning Appeals To Be “Reviewed Afresh”

November 17, 2011

Former Environment Minister Walter Roban’s decisions to allow Planning appeals by two fellow Cabinet Ministers to proceed have been declared void — because he had already left that portfolio before his Parliamentary colleagues had been notified.

This evening  the Ministry of Environment, Planning and Infrastructure Strategy said although the decisions to permit the appeals were made on November 1, neither Health Minister Zane DeSilva nor Tourism Minister Wayne Furbert were told after until Mr. Roban had been moved to the Public Works portfolio in Premier Paula Cox’s November 2 Cabinet shuffle..

” … it has been determined that the decision regarding an Appeal to the Minister responsible for Planning does not take effect until that decision has been communicated to the parties,” said a Planning spokesman. ” … At the time the decisions were delivered, Minster Roban was no longer the Minister of the Environment, Planning and Infrastructure Strategy and so the appeals will now be reviewed afresh by the new Minister for Environment Planning and Infrastructure Strategy Marc Bean.”

The One Bermuda Alliance has said this week’s revelations of a Government Minister giving two colleagues preferential treatment on their land development applications represents “the same me-first behavior that has tarnished the integrity of Bermuda’s Government in recent years.”

“The Premier’s statement that she will have ‘zero tolerance for behavior and practice that do not accord with the highest standards of good governance’ rings hollow in light of these approvals by Minister Roban,” the OBA has said.

“It is our view that if the Premier supports or condones this kind of behavior then she supports one set of rules for her colleagues and another set of rules for the people.

“If this kind of arrangement is in line with her zero tolerance policy, if these approvals are allowed to stand, then really nothing much has changed, has it? It’s just more ‘business as usual’ despite her public commitments to end it.”

Earlier today the Opposition had urged the Premier to make a statement on the situation, and explain how the decisions made in respect of Ministers Zane DeSilva and Wayne Furbert by outgoing Environment Minister Roban fit into her “zero tolerance” policy.

“On the plus side, we welcome new Environment Minister Marc Bean’s statement he will review the DeSilva file, and we hope common sense and respect for the integrity of the Planning process prevails,” said Senator Michael Fahy.

“It should be noted that Minister Bean’s statement was issued before this morning’s revelation that new Tourism Minister Wayne Furbert’s planning application was approved by Minister Walter Roban, on his last day as Environment Minister, the same day he approved Minister DeSilva’s.”

Sen. Fahy said Bermudians want and expect a higher standard of behaviour from their Government.

“They certainly don’t want one set of rules for them and another set of rules for those that are supposed to lead us,” he said. “For the sake of higher standards of governance for Bermuda, we hope common sense and respect for the people of this Island will prevail in this matter.

“As for the particulars of the Roban-DeSilva approval, we want to make it clear that proper procedures were followed. In our view, Minister Roban should have simply accepted the Independent Inspector’s recommended rejection of Minister DeSilva’s appeal.”

Instead Minister Roban decided to ignore recommendations by technical officers, the Director of Planning and the Independent Inspector while he was “literally walking out of his minister’s office for the last time”, said Sen. Fahy.

“In effect, he was thumbing his nose at a system designed to ensure fairness, transparency and avoid ministers sitting in judgment of Ministers,” said the Opposition legislator. “This is the line crossed, making one set of rules for Cabinet Ministers and another for the people of Bermuda.

“It is a red herring for Minister Roban to say make the excuse that ‘in principle’ permission is given. The fact is no permission should have been granted in the first place, given the Independent Inspector’s recommendations and the fact that it would have removed any doubt of favoritism from the equation.”

The full Planning statement follows below:

Concerning the upholding of planning appeals for the Zanzarra Trust and Cyrus Trust by the former Minister of the Environment, Planning and Infrastructure Strategy, The Hon. Walter H. Roban JP, MP, it has been determined that the decision regarding an Appeal to the Minister responsible for Planning does not take effect until that decision has been communicated to the parties.

Despite the fact that the decision to uphold the appeals was made on November 1st, 2011, the operative date of the decision was the date on which the decision was communicated to the parties to the appeal – a date after November 2nd, 2011 when Minister Roban was no longer Minister of the Environment, Planning and Infrastructure Strategy.

This position is analogous to the custom, practice and legal provisions of the issuance of court judgments which become operative at the time the judgment is delivered.

At the time the decisions were delivered, Minster Roban was no longer the Minister of the Environment, Planning and Infrastructure Strategy and so the appeals will now be reviewed afresh by the new Minister for Environment Planning and Infrastructure Strategy, The Hon. Marc Bean JP, MP.

Share via email

Read More About

Category: All, News, Politics

Comments (44)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Family Man says:

    Spin, spin, spin.

  2. charles richardson says:

    Now Look!! You lot need to get it together!! What type of justification is that!! Either it was a valid, fair decision or it wasn’t! Who made it and the fact he was transferred to another portfolio without notice fails to address the substance of the complaint!! Nobody is fooled by political double speak couched in specious legal terminology……..you guys gotta come better than that!! And I am one of your biggest supporters! but now even I can smell the BS!!!!!!

    • PDB says:

      exactly. it’s so obviously orchestrated. If I’m Wayne or Zane I’d be like WTF? Imagine id they decide to sue on a technicality. I don’t think “it was determined that it wasn’t official…” is going to hold up in court. But they won’t say anything because this is a closed door strategy to back peddle out and limit damage. too late as far as I’m concerned.

  3. Swing Voter says:

    This is great !! I think I now know where to swing my vote, at least this government is willing to clearly re-examine the situation and re-think what may be best. They are willing to say hey, maybe this was not as it should be, and so make a change of heart. That is difficult for most governments to do, and says alot about their ability to review things. Mark Bean seems like a really bright young man. Let the swinging begin………

  4. george says:

    it appears marc bean has started of on a good foot, may he keep it up

  5. drunkenUrsula says:

    I’m often drunk an dont retain much information, but this smells like BS too me…shame shame on all those gonna bees…Roban ,Furbert and that boy Desilva

  6. John Swan's building!! says:

    I have a friend who works in Government, who told that applications are refused every week in her Department. The the next step is to appeal to the Minister in charge of that Ministry.

    She also told me you would be surprised to know how many things are refused by the Managers and then a Minister steps in reviews a person’s appeal and grants it.

    She said you would be surpised to learn the number of appeals the Ministers of the PLP have granted for everyday people to help them move forward, so why should anyone else be treated and different.

    I stand to be correct but didn’t some clowns refuse John Swans building and the PLP Minister’s approved it.

    Half of Bermuda’s employment is hired on who knows who. Asked all those people out there unemployed and when they ask their friend or friends who got the job they say ” oh some one someone they already know or like.” That’s the way of the World.

    Ask all those people that have applied at company’s and told their not got what it takes to perform the job, so the company brings a person from Canada or the USA to do the job. In truth they didn’t want us Bermudians anyway.

    More smoke from the UBP I mean OBA.

    • Rick Rock says:

      Oh, we would be surprised would we? That “everyday people” like Sir John Swan get planning rejections overturned?

      You really sound ridiculous. A lot of “everyday people” have applied for planning permission of one sort or another, including me, and for most of us there are no favors at all. Certainly no ministers stepping in to overturn a planning rejection.

      It’s obvious what happened here. They were caught with their hand in the cookie jar. They had to make up a “story”. So we get this nonsense about how the ‘decision wasn’t communicated in time’.

      Only the most naive lame brains are gonna believe that one.

      It was insider dealing of the worst kind. And so obvious and blatant they have to try to make it appear it didn’t happen. But it did.

    • specialgirl4 says:

      The Minister has the authority to overrule an appeal. That is the position a Minister has once he takes office for a particular ministry. This is not new and was in place during the time OBA/UBP was in power. So why act as if this is something new or unusual? Please read government regulations and rules. As a Civil Servant your friend should know more about how government works and what laws govern their roles and responsibilities.

      • PDB says:

        you’re right, it’s not new or unusual. but it was wrong when the UBP did it and it is wrong now. full stop.

      • Mad Dawg says:

        If it’s not unusual, how many ordinary people, not PLP affiliates, got their planning rejections overturned that day by Bud?

  7. Rockfish#2 says:

    @ Bernews,
    Can we express an opinion on this subject,or will you stop the comments as you did with the Jonathan Smith story? Without giving a reason.

    • Pat says:

      We don’t turn off comments – its a technical glitch. Not sure if you saw the not-too-triumphant moment earlier this afternoon when the entire text of the story vanished, and it featured a great big blank space. Not sure why that one story has gone wonky, but the tech guys are looking into it.

      • Rockfish#2 says:

        @ Bernews,

        OK—thanks for the explanation.

        • Pat says:

          No problem. The fix, or should we say attempted fix, wasn’t exactly going as planned, so we gave up and just manually redid the whole thing into a new post.

  8. how the might lie says:

    Now Im hearing all sorts of stories…now the plannning decision is VOID! or did the PLP mean that it was unethical for walter to approve these 2 planning infastructures being built. Any non-intelligent person should have seen that this was a void from the begining, but here he have the PLP, trying to make a statement that it goes through 2 decion boards, before its finally approve….WHAT BS! Now let see Desilva and furbert get around this….Its nice to know that when you switch sides with the government you try to pull the same wool you were pulling long time ago. Not all has changed with Furbert.

  9. pebblebeach says:

    Does it really matter, Marc Bean will simply approve it as he will not take the advice of the technical officers or planning…just a big ole pile of Cog-wash…

    • PEPPER says:

      Marc Bean,in my opinion you should not have the position that you hold…But younger people have said to me that you are not afraid to tell it like it is…if this is true you have my support….

  10. Soooooo says:

    This evening  the Ministry of Environment, Planning and Infrastructure Strategy said although the decisions to permit the appeals were made on November 1, neither Health Minister Zane DeSilva nor Tourism Minister Wayne Furbert were told after until Mr. Roban had been moved to the Public Works portfolio in Premier Paula Cox’s November 2 Cabinet shuffle..

    Never heard so much BS in my life…. Run and hide under the stone!!!

  11. guee says:

    2Pac – Ghetto Gospel

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Do5MMmEygsY&ob=av2n

    can anon exposed them all but then again the almighty dont sleep

  12. Triangle Drifter says:

    Watch out! A bike furiously being peddled BACKWARDS is coming down the road followed by a bunch of PLP MPs & supporters applying makeup attempting to SAVE FACE.

    No this was corruption of the worst kind. If you had a decency you would resign not only your Ministerial positions but your positions as MPs as well. The Premier should resign for doing nothing, or not doing anything till under great pressure from the public.

    Yet another bungled PLP crisis. I used to think that the UBP went from crisis to crisis. The UBP had nothing on this lot.

  13. Albert Tatlock says:

    Government caught yet again with pants down around their ankles and private parts exposed for all to see. What an ugly sight. Next they’ll probably try and ram something down our throats.

  14. Jim Bean says:

    BS!BS!BS!RESIGN ROBAN ANDFURBERT AND DESILVA

  15. Shaking the Head says:

    Just a question. Would these decisions have been reviewed if they hadn’t been made public? I doubt it. They were after all made on November 1 or 2 and their existence surfaced November 16, a space of 2 weeks. Why wasn’t the decision to review them taken on November 3? So it is business as usual unless found out. In the meantime it appears the bulldozers have been busy at Island Destruction, so will the new Minister demand the land is returned to its pre-destruction state pending the final decision? I won’t hold my breath.

    • Get Real says:

      ALL Planning documents are public documents. They are NOT private. These were not leaked or anything to the sort, so stop trying to mislead. Any appeals that are upheld, the decision is mailed to the objectors. Also anyone can see any file at planning!

      Also, there were no bullzoders at Island as there is no planning permit, so once again, stop being dumb.

      This is an issue of a minister, who excercised bad judgement and had the balls to resign as a result.

      • Rick Rock says:

        Er, no.

        You said “This is an issue of a minister, who excercised bad judgement and had the balls to resign as a result.”

        NOBODY RESIGNED.

        You are rewriting history already.

        All three of them should lose their jobs. They all have been caught in the middle of a plan to subvert the planning process. They should lose their positions of trust and responsibility. They should be fired. It’s Paula Cox that should “have the balls”, to use your phrase, to do the right thing.

        • Curious says:

          I guess you missed the story that Minister Roban resigned.

          Its ok, continue to live in your fantasy world, where facts don’t matter.

  16. Rockfish#2 says:

    When a team has a weak and ineffective leader, they simply do as they wish.
    Cox should know this by now!

  17. Down 'n' Dirty says:

    Wonder if he made sure the checks were good before he resigned ?

  18. Slipknot says:

    It looks like Walter will have to give Zane his money back…………

  19. Triangle Drifter says:

    Over the years, over the decades how many times have we been told that proceedures at Planning are going to be revised to stop the corruption or streamline the process? SSDD. Don’t expect any changes soon, not during a PLP regime anyhow.

  20. Disgusted says:

    This happened to us 2 years ago… and I’m furious with the PLP Government, where the Minister overturned the Planning Department’s opposition on Appeal. They allowed a Government employee to build a +12foot structure dead smack on our boundary and devalue our property. I’m still fuming! It’s corruption at its best! I’ll never vote PLP!

  21. We already know what will happen says:

    The only way that the PLP can show that Roban’s decision wasn’t politically motivated is for Bean to say no. Of course he won’t do that. Expect to hear “While the process was faulty I’ve reviewed the file and I concur with former Minister Roban’s decision.” Otherwise expect someone to demand that Zane return the land to the state it was in before this.

  22. Ya Right says:

    Maybe we should focus on the law or procedures as any minister has that right, if so nothing was done wrong maybe not to smart as I would have turned it some way to have the civil servants get the job done after all many of them should be arrested for loitering in a public space

  23. PDB says:

    Wayne and Zane should feel very hard done by right? I mean they’ve been approved by what they deem to be an appropriate process and now the gov’t is backtracking because they weren’t told of the decision in time. but wait… they are the gov’t. so they won’t say nuttin’ because they’re in on the whole thing. i’m sure they were told “you gotta take this one for the team fellas”. if it wasn’t corruption then Wayne and Zane should be up in arms.

    @bernews – can you check and see if any other people had their approval signed last minute and are those now void too?

  24. jackjack says:

    All lies, and more damned lies

  25. Can't Take It Anymore says:

    Out of couriosity, who from the OBA is saying that this is the typical me first behavior and all that other stuff? I only ask because normally the OBA members associate their names with their comments. In this case, there was no name. If it is from certain party members who were part of the UBP, then their statements also ‘ring hollow’ becasue that was their previous attitude when they were for UBP.

  26. Puzzled says:

    So how many other planning appeals were overturned during this time, and are they now retroactive as well??? will they now be made public for us all to scrutanize as well????
    Just curious as I too am a swing voter…..