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JCC seeking documents from Tewarie

By Keino Swamber

ATTORNEYS representing Minister of Planning and Sustainable Development Dr Bhoe Tewarie are insisting that documents being requested by the Joint Consultative Council (JCC) for the construction industry, under the Freedom of Information Act, are exempt under the Act.

One of the grounds being advanced is that the information requested is protected under the cover of legal professional privilege as stated in Section 29 (1).

The JCC, through its president Afra Raymond, is contending that Tewarie's refusal to disclose the documents is illegal, irrational and unreasonable.

In a lawsuit filed on October 31, the JCC states that it is entitled to the documents, which concern legal advice received by the Ministry in relation to the tendering process for the development at Invaders Bay, Port of Spain.

The JCC says it first requested the documents in December last year and had written to Tewarie expressing concern over the tendering process.

Following several requests, the JCC received a response on August 16 from the permanent secretary who said the Ministry was exempted from providing the information.

The JCC is seeking an order which mandates the Ministry to release the information. They are contending that the tendering process was done without going through the Central Tenders Board.

The matter came up for hearing yesterday before Justice Frank Seepersad in the Port of Spain High Court.

Appearing on behalf of the JCC was attorney Kingsley Walesby, while attorney Shiv Sharma appeared on behalf of Tewarie.

Seepersad adjourned the matter to December 14.

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