High Court throws out BK’s challenge of quarry licences granted to Hadi’s World Inc.

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana

An application made by BK Quarries Incorporated, challenging the quarry licences granted to Hadi’s World – a company owned by businessman Nazar “Shell” Mohamed – has been tossed out by the High Court on the grounds that it failed to make a compelling case for judicial review.

The legal challenge to Hadi World’s four quarry licences was first filed by BK Quarries Inc., owned by businessman Brian Tiwarie, back in 2021. BK had named Hadi’s World, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC), in its challenge on the grounds that BK’s own application for a quarry license was being blocked.

In his May 13 ruling, however, Justice Gino Persaud had found that after careful consideration of all the affidavits and written submissions filed by the parties, BK Quarries failed to prove its grounds for the challenge or whether any breach to the law had occurred.

Hadi’s quarry in operation

Moreover, the judge ruled that the decisions of the EPA and GGMC were not unlawful, unfair, unreasonable, arbitrary, or a breach of natural justice. As such, BK was ordered to pay sums of $500,000 each to GGMC, EPA, and Hadi’s World, all within six weeks.

In comments after the ruling, Hadi World’s owner Nazar Mohamed, hailed the triumph of justice in the case. According to him, they have already invested heavily in the quarry. As such, he was pleased and relieved with the judgment.

This is not the first time BK was unsuccessful in the case. In its initial filings, BK Quarries had also named GGMC’s Commissioner Newell Dennison as a respondent. However, the Commissioner of GGMC had applied to be removed as a party to the proceedings.

Brian Tiwarie

Back in 2022, Justice Persaud had granted the application on the ground that there was “no cause of action disclosed against him”. As such, he had been deleted from the proceedings and BK was ordered to pay him $250,000 in costs.

BK Quarries had also previously applied for the GGMC to disclose several documents, including documents submitted to it by Hadi’s World in its quarry license applications. That application was also denied by Justice Persaud who held that “[BK Quarries] has not demonstrated any exceptional circumstances to justify the disclosures sought”.

According to the Judge, “the application for disclosure seems to be an attempt to obtain as much information as possible to unpick GGMC’s decision and seems to be a fishing expedition”. On that occasion, BK had also been ordered to pay $150,000.

In its application for judicial review, BK Quarries through its lawyer Siand Dhurjon, complained that despite raising several objections, the GGMC and EPA went ahead with the granting of the licences to Hadi’s World which has no expertise in the quarrying industry.

Among other things, the company had sought an injunction to prevent Hadi’s World from occupying or taking any steps to develop 16,500 acres of land recently awarded by the GGMC as four quarrying licences.

Azruddin Mohamed of Hadi’s World (left) with Natural Resources Minister Vickram Bharrat back in 2021. Also in the picture is GGMC Commissioner Newell Dennison

Dhurjon had said that BK Quarries applied for a quarrying license for an area in Itaballi, Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni) in August 2018 and is still awaiting a response regarding its application.

Hadi’s World, BK Quarries had said, only applied for its quarrying license in December 2020.

BK Quarries contends that the EPA illegally waived the requirement for Hadi’s World to be subjected to performing an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of four quarrying operations for the reason that the operations “would not significantly impact the environment”.

Considering this, Dhurjon had asked the court to grant an order of mandamus to compel the GGMC to take all steps necessary to see to the 2018 application by BK Quarries for a quarry license over the area of 9364 acres designated by the GGMC.