WEDNESDAY, JUNE 20: Environmental group BEST has hit back at Zane De Silva for giving ‘vague and disingenuous’ reasons for withdrawing plans to build on Devonshire Marsh.

It accused the Government Minister of maligning the group and urged him to itemize or retract comments made during an interview with the Bermuda Sun.

Last week, Mr De Silva told the Sun he had withdrawn an appeal against a decision preventing him from building warehouses on his land because “it was the right thing to do”.

He maintained that it was never his intention to build on Devonshire Marsh adding: “I was very disappointed with the way BEST portrayed the planning application. There was a lot of false information released.”

A statement released by BEST this week, through chairman Stuart Hayward, said Mr De Silva’s allegation was “without any merit whatsoever”.

It stated: “It is unconscionable that a Cabinet Minister would attempt to malign a non-governmental organization with such a vague and blanket statement. We challenge Mr De Silva to state precisely what ‘a lot of false information’ was released by BEST or he should retract the allegation.”

BEST suggested that Mr De Silva withdrew his planning appeal because it was going to be rejected.

And in its statement maintained that the original plans were to build on an area, which Mr De Silva owned, that was within the boundaries of Devonshire Marsh.

It added: “The application submitted to Planning by Mr. De Silva’s company was to build on an area Mr. De Silva owns within the boundaries of Devonshire Marsh. Nothing alters the fact that the area on which Mr De Silva applied to build is part of the Devonshire Marsh.”

The Bermuda Sun contacted Mr De Silva for a response but no comment was forthcoming.