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Despite residents’ objections, PRIME fete gets licence

By Rickie Ramdass rickie.ramdass@trinidadexpress.com

THE Appeal Court yesterday overturned a ruling handed down by Senior Magistrate Annette McKenzie on Monday that had put this Sunday’s PRIME all-inclusive fete in jeopardy.
Three residents who live in proximity to the Country Club in Maraval, where the event is to take place, had raised objections to an occasional bar licence being granted to the fete’s promoter, Russell DeGazon.
When the matter was called on Monday at the Port of Spain Magistrates’ Court, DeGazon’s attorney Keith Scotland said none of the relevant authorities, including the police, raised objection to the event being held.
As such, he said, the residents did not have the right to appear in the matter and be heard before the court.
McKenzie, presiding as head of the Licences Committee for the County of St George West, disagreed with Scotland’s submissions, saying Parliament had also taken into consideration the convenience of the public when it passed the Liquor Licences Act.
During yesterday’s appeal at the Hall of Justice in Port of Spain, Scotland referred to Section 44 (1) of the act, stating that the proper objector would have been Snr Supt Ishmael David, the police officer in charge of the Western Division where the fete was to be held.
One of the objectors, Marlene Guy, had raised an objection with the committee last month, resulting in the police investigating her claims.
However, after those investigations, the police did not object to the fete taking place, but the resident continued to pursue the matter.
In passing judgment, Justice Yorke-Soo Hon said there was nothing stated in Section 44 or any other section of the Liquor Licences Act outlining that the residents had the right to object, agreeing with Scotland’s submissions.
The judge also agreed that the proper objector would have been the officer in charge of the division, before remitting the matter before McKenzie at the Magistrates’ Court.
Several minutes later, McKenzie called the matter and was informed by attorney Asha Watkins, who is also representing DeGazon, of the Appeal Court’s judgement.
The licence was then granted.
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