CAMPAIGNERS fighting a development in the Caribbean said to be linked to a controversial project in Scotland will have their case heard in the UK this week.

Activists in Barbuda are fighting their government over the construction of an airport on the island.

They accuse the government of Antigua and Barbuda of unlawfully granting planning permission to the project, which is being developed by American property firm Peace, Love, Happiness.

The campaigners said the firm is being backed by the Discovery Land Company (DLC) – who are behind deeply controversial plans to build a high-security private compound for the mega-rich on the shores of Loch Tay, in Perthshire first revealed by The National.

Campaigners Jacklyn “Jackie” Frank, and John Mussington are appealing a decision of the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal, which answers to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London.

Their lawyers argue the Caribbean court was wrong in its ruling that the campaigners lacked standing to bring a claim against their government for approving the development.

Peace, Love, Happiness is said to be planning to build an airport to serve luxury developments on land which was stripped bare by Hurricane Irma in 2017.

The activists said swathes of forest were cut down to facilitate the development rather than being revived.

They also argue their case will have a ripple effect through the Caribbean if they are able to prove they do have the ability to bring forward representations against controversial developments by which they are not directly affected.

Antigua and Barbuda are party to the Escazú Agreement, an international treaty signed by 25 Latin American and Caribbean nations, which requires broad legal standing in environmental cases.

'We have been totally ignored' 

Frank, one of the campaigners, said: “The decision to fight against the development of the private-jet airport on Barbuda was not taken lightly. But it had to be done.

“We, as Barbudans, were not consulted about this development. Our environment, our culture, our history, and our right to be consulted and participate in the future of our lands have been totally ignored.”

Mussington, who is also part of the appeal, added: “Over 300 acres of land which supported our livelihoods and food security as well as providing critical ecosystem services were destroyed to make way for an airport.

“Barbudans only became aware, after the fact, that one of our most critical sanctuaries for the deer and other wildlife, hunting and farming areas was destroyed.

“This goes against our laws as well as international treaties and expectations that are the norm in any modern society. We will not accept these abuses. We stand against the injustice."

Chris Heasman, a spokesperson for the Protect Loch Tay group, said: “Here in Scotland, we have come to recognise the disastrous consequences of DLC developments — on communities, access rights, the environment, and more.

“This company is notorious for its ability to evade proper scrutiny, and so any attempt to hold them to account must always be followed through to the fullest extent. As such, Protect Loch Tay would like to offer our wholehearted support and best wishes for John and Jackie's Privy Council hearing."

'Disaster capitalism in its purest form'

The campaigners are being represented by lawyers from London law firm Garden Court Chambers and Global Legal Action Network (GLAN).

Jasmine Rayée, a lawyer with GLAN, said: “This case highlights the importance of Barbudans acting as stewards for their island.

“John and Jackie are bravely standing against the short-term interests of the central government in Antigua and foreign luxury tourism developers, which endanger the fragile ecology of this low-lying island in times of a heightened global climate crisis.

“The same US-based developers who have cleared pristine forest for this private airstrip are also destroying mangrove vegetation and natural dunes on the coast within an internationally listed wetland.”

Dr Gearóid Ó Cuinn, director of GLAN, said: “Barbuda is enduring disaster capitalism in its purest form.

“The two Barbudans taking a brave stand are seeking protection for their community’s right to access courts, their last line of defence from powerful, land-hungry developers who are destroying the social and ecological fabric of the island.

“International law is on their side and potential purchasers of luxury villas should take note of the legal risks and uncertainties they are buying into.”

Peace, Love, Happiness was approached for comment.