Attorney General Anand Ramlogan has said that yesterday’s Court of Appeal ruling on the Highway Re-Route Movement (HRM) was a message sent by the judiciary to the State that it must ensure that the law is adhered to.
Speaking at a news conference at his office on St Vincent Street, Port of Spain, Ramlogan said:
“Today Government stands completely vindicated as every single finding adverse to the Prime Minister and the Government has been vitiated and reversed by the Court of Appeal. He noted that there was evidence before the judge that the Highway Re-Route Movement, under the leadership of Dr Kublalsingh, engaged in unlawful acts with a view to obstructing the operations of tractors and preventing the construction workers from carrying out other lawful duties.
Ramlogan said every time there was obstruction by the movement, contractors and sub-contractors were unable to work but still had to be paid by the State.
He said the actions of the Re-Route Movement cost the State millions of dollars.
He warned though, that Government will no longer tolerate that the kind of “intimidation, bullying and flagrant violation of the law”.
“There are consequences to these thing... while we want to give full scope and ambit for citizens to pursue and litigate their constitutional rights, we must also be vigilant about the public purse and the need to protect the State from those who wish to exercise their right to a pound of flesh,” he said.
Ramlogan said the Highway Re-Route Movement now has to pay the State millions of dollars in legal costs.
He noted that after the State lost its recent bid for the trial judge to recuse himself from hearing the case, Dr Kublalsingh had been clamouring for the State to pay the Re-Route Movement $200,000 in legal costs.
He went on to question where Dr Kublalsingh and the movement will now find this money.
“Today I have to ask Dr Kublalsingh to explain to his followers and those persons in this litigation whether he is going to pick up the tab for the taxpayers’ money that has been spent to defend this constitutional motion or is it that they will now lose their house and land and car as a result of pursuing the frivolous mitigation against the State,” he said.
Meanwhile, Ramlogan said the construction of the Point Fortin to Golconda Highway will continue.