Thursday, February 22, 2018

Judge gives AG go-ahead

Govt challenges THAover Milshirv contract


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Attorney General Anand Ramlogan has obtained the grant of leave for judicial review against the Tobago House of Assembly (THA).

Last week, Ramlogan filed proceedings in the High Court as he seeks to challenge the THA's power and authority to enter into deals such as the contentious Milshirv contract.

Attorneys Alvin Fitzpatrick SC, Lesley Lucky-Samaroo and Martin George were retained to seek the AG's interest in the matter, and they were instructed by attorneys Kerri Ann Olivierie and Tamara Maharaj.

Yesterday, the matter came up in the Port of Spain High Court where Justice James Aboud, presiding in the matter, after hearing arguments, granted leave to the AG to proceed with the application for judicial review and also ordered the company Milshirv be served with the proceedings.

Aboud fixed the next date of hearing for February 15 when all parties are expected to be present and represented and for arguments in the matter to proceed.

In October last year, during her budget contribution, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar raised questions with respect to the $250 million Bacolet Aquatic Centre and Indoor Sport Complex and the $143 million Milshirv THA Administration Complex at Shirvan Park.

She called for the projects to be halted, pending investigations, and also instructed the Finance Minister to conduct an audit.

Director at Milshirv Properties Ltd Joseph Rahael had welcomed the probe, saying the build-own-lease-transfer (BOLT) arrangement with the THA was above board and transparent.

THA Chief Secretary Orville London had also said the BOLT arrangement was above board and posted a report of over 100 pages of the contract on the THA's website.

The matter comes up days before three political parties—the People's National Movement (PNM), the Tobago Organisation of the People (TOP) and The Platform of Truth (TPT) head to the polls on January 21 to contest the THA election.