FRIDAY, JUNE 15: Health Minister Zane De Silva has spoken publicly for the first time about his decision to withdraw a controversial planning application to build warehouses on his land near Devonshire Marsh.
Mr De Silva decided to withdraw the appeal on April 23 while Planning Minister Marc Bean was reviewing the application. He told the Bermuda Sun: “I just thought it was the right thing to do at the time.”
But the Minister would not further elaborate on why he felt it was the right thing to do.
The ZanZara Trust application sparked widespread concern last November when it emerged former Planning Minister Walter Roban upheld the appeal against the advice of the independent inspector and in his final hours in office.
Mr Roban came under further fire from opposition MPs and environmental groups for his handling of a second application in which he upheld an appeal by Minister Wayne Furbert, via the Cyrus Trust, to add two lots next to his house in similar circumstances.
The saga prompted Mr Roban to resign as Minister, although he has now returned to Cabinet as Transport Minister.
Speaking exclusively to the Sun, Mr De Silva said: “I was very disappointed with the way BEST portrayed the planning application.
“There was a lot of false information released.”
He said claims that he planned to build on Devonshire Marsh were disingenuous as he had no intention of doing so.
“I fought a court case in the ‘90s about the use of the property and the judge ruled we had existing use rights.”