The following is BEST’s response to remarks by Zane DeSilva, MP
MP Zane Desilva has criticised BEST for sharing with the public our information on the scope of development planned for the Fairmont Southampton hotel property. (Bernews 12 Dec 2013: DeSilva: ‘Balance Between Sustainable And No’)
Normally BEST sloughs off this kind of criticism. However, this is not the first time that Mr. DeSilva has attempted to unjustly find fault with our organisation. Back in 2011 Mr. DeSilva, who was then Health Minister, criticised BEST on the floor of Parliament for NOT speaking up when there was major construction at the Reefs hotel. We don’t mind legitimate criticism, but BEST wasn’t even in existence when the application for the Reefs development was in process. We wrote to the Speaker of the House Stanley Lowe asking Minister DeSilva and other MPs be admonished not to speak falsely when referring to BEST —that’s on record.
But what is difficult to understand is that this individual was in the past complaining, albeit falsely, because BEST DIDN’T speak up. Now he is complaining because we DID speak up.
When the same individual criticises us for both speaking AND not speaking it raises the question of motives. We don’t presume to know why Mr. DeSilva would attempt to criticise BEST for speaking up and for not speaking up, but the public will no doubt remember that it was BEST that blew the whistle on Mr. DeSilva, who was then a Cabinet Minister, for breaking the Planning rules in his attempt to build three gigantic warehouses on Devonshire Marsh, an environmentally sensitive wetlands. It was the BEST’s exposure of that chicanery that led to Mr. DeSilva withdrawing the application, and to the resignation of another implicated Cabinet Minister.
But to the issue, BEST takes its role as an environmental watchdog very seriously. We would be failing the public if we did not alert them to a development project that plans to cover a green area surrounding a major hotel with 130 housing units.