such a situation thereby leaving the deci- sion of the Government agency beyond possibility of rebuke.
Caribbean Trilogy A similar criticism may be leveled
against the first three Caribbean attempts to seek judicial review of environmental decision-making. The trilogy began in March 1993 with Spencer v. Canzone Del Mare and the Attorney General of Antigua and Barbuda (Spencer No. 1). The appli- cant was a Member of Parliament of Antigua and Barbuda and Leader of the Opposition. He alleged that the Acting Chief Town Planner, acting on behalf of the Land Development Control Authority, had ordered the defendants to halt all develop- ment activities at its Coconut Hall site because the work there was environmen- tally unfriendly and required an environ- mental impact assessment, which had not been done. It was further alleged that the Prime Minister had improperly written to the developer allowing the continuation of con- struction. The application for declaratory orders and an injunction was dismissed on the ground that the plaintiff lacked standing because he had not shown ‘sufficient inter- est’ in the matter to be litigated. In June and August 1996, the High Court of Barbados considered the standing issue in Scotland District Association Inc. v. Attorney General et al. The applicant was a recently formed corporation whose objec- tive was to foster and promote the preser- vation and improvement of the ecologically sensitive Scotland District. Its application for a declaration that the decision of gov- ernment to site a sanitary landfill for the deposit of waste materials and refuse in the Scotland District was unlawful was reject- ed. Although there was not much discus- sion of the locus standi point, the Court appears to have agreed with the defen- dants’ argument that members of the asso- ciation had no individual interest in the mat-
ter and that joining themselves into a com-
pany created no better right
enjoyed as individuals.
General of Antigua and Barbuda et al (Spencer No. 2), decided in April 1998, rejected an application from Mr. Spencer for a declaration that the agreement between the Government and a private developer for a tourist development on Guiana Island was unconstitutional. One ground advanced by applicant was that the proposed development was harmful to the ecology and was contrary to common law principles that protect the environment. At first instance, Saunders, J. found that the applicant had standing but rejected his arguments on the merits. This decision on standing was overturned on appeal. In the view of the Appellate Court, the applicant had failed the constitutional requirement that he should have "a relevant interest" in order to be granted standing.
Admittedly, there are important dif- ferences between applications by genuine environmental organizations or pressure groups to seek judicial review and applica- tions by professional politicians who may have other axes to grind. The Court clearly has an interest in not becoming a forum for political debate, particularly in circum- stances where the applicant has access to Parliament.
However, the broader problem concerns interpretation of the ‘sufficient interest’ criterion. Parliament was not a possible venue to the applicants in the Scotland District case but they were nonetheless deemed not to have sufficient interest. This was despite the fact that Barbados has special legislation in the form of the Administration of Justice Act 1980, which specifically allows for litigation in the public interest. Indeed, even more recent decisions have continued the now ingrained tradition of a restrictive approach to standing, requiring, virtually, that the