Move VS Remove

By now you all know about the court’s verdict in the Aruba Birdlife Conservation procedure VS Embassy Suite, Natura NV.

It was a victory for all those who respect nature, says attorney Geert Rep who represented ABC.

This was the 24th court case Rep handled for the foundation, winning 22. The two others? One was filed too late, the second, the judge threw the hot potato back at the opponents asking them to figure it out outside court.

Not a bad record.

What does that say about us?

It says the message we are in the NATURE BUSINESS hasn’t sunk in completely, and that developers must all get on board to strike a good balance between what they consider their urgent needs, and what’s good for the country.

Did you get to the finish line, I asked Rep.

No, was the answer.

Just before the verdict came in – the case was filed two weeks ago, the verdict was published early, yesterday, another administrative procedure was filed, by ABC, because the ‘permit’ that is still out there must be recalled. It was issued by MinPres, in her capacity as the Minister of Infrastructure, incorrectly, illegally, and must be revoked. And that procedure will take time, perhaps six months, but in the meanwhile the resort must learn to market its magnificent pool area, and family-friendly amenities, happy hour, breakfast, sans beach.

It was the wrong ‘permit,’ anyway.

In this case the resort was supposed to file for an exemption, which would grant it permission to mess with the seagrass. Move it, said the resort. Are you kidding, said the defense, you are removing it.

Permission isn’t there, you did not even file for it.

And … in the current ROPV, the area is designated as a Marine Zone, by law. You must make changes to the law first, then you can convert the designation of the terrain from Sea to Land.

Of course, if they change the ROPV later down the road and convert the marine zone into beach zone, Embassy Suites will get a beach, but until the ROPV is revised, they have to wait, a few years.

And I am not talking out of my ass, sorry, ear. When reviewed last time, the ROPV contained some last minute, surprise dispensations, dropped by the former minister Otmar Oduber, in the Malmok and Savaneta areas, that accommodated unwanted development, for example bungalows over water, in Savaneta, and a hotel/restaurant in Malmok.

So, the Minister of Nature may wake up one morning and OK beach construction, but not in the next few years. The next ROPV revision is in 2026, I think.

Meanwhile let’s see if MinPres revokes the ‘permit,’ from June 19th. She will have to eventually when the administrative procedure concludes, because it was given by carelessly, in oblivion, or illegally? I am struggling with the words.

Just in case you missed:  THE PRONOUNCEMENT

The General Court, adjudicating for interim measures:

-prohibits Natura without an exemption within the meaning of Article 8 of the Nature Conservation Ordinance for the removal of seagrass (i.e. the removal of that grass from where it is located) to carry out or have carried out any beach construction activity (bulldozer, demolition and construction activities included) in the area for which it has obtained a construction permit, and that as long as it is not ruled otherwise in proceedings on the merits; – determines that Natura forfeits a penalty payment of Afl. 1,000,000 per day or part thereof that Natura violates the aforementioned prohibition, up to a maximum of Atl. 25,000,000; -condemns Natura in the costs of these procedural cases against ABC, estimated at Afl. 2,400; -declares this judgment provisionally enforceable so far; – knew that it was more or else requested by ABC.

This judgment was rendered by mr. A.H.M. van de Leur, judge, and was pronounced early in the open court on Wednesday 1 July, 2023.



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July 20, 2023
Rona Coster