TOBAGO House of Assembly (THA) Chief Secretary Orville London says there is "nothing new" about the THA being taken to court by the central government as the result of a dispute between the two bodies.
London, however, believes that the most recent legal action against the THA is focussed more on "politicising or slandering".
On Wednesday, during his contribution to the 2012-2013 budget debate, Attorney General Anand Ramlogan told the Senate that the Government was taking the THA and London to court to seek a declaration that they had breached Section 51 of the THA Act by entering into a $143 million BOLT (Build, Own, Lease, Transfer) contract for the Milshirv Administrative Office.
London said since 1980 the THA had to appear in court actions on at least five occasions. He said any time there is a relationship between a local body and central government, there are going to be disagreements.
London said the difference between what transpired on those five previous occasions and what is transpiring now is that the focus was on the issue at hand and not on politicising or slandering.
"There were no aspersions cast on individuals who had taken decisions based on their interpretation of their powers under the THA Act," London said.
"If during the discussion and during the action any evidence was seen of personal involvement then so let it be, but to have a situation where at the beginning of a process before any evidence is put forward, where you have a disagreement between the central government and the THA about the powers of the THA or the control of the central government, something that has happened on several occasions in the past, and to allow that to create an environment where people's characters are sullied in this manner, I think that that is very unfortunate."
London said whenever the THA made decisions it always consulted its senior legal adviser Alvin Pascall.
Pascall said Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar was being disingenuous when she read aspects of the office lease for the Milshirv complex.
"What is unfortunate in this matter is that the learned Prime Minister, who is also a Senior Counsel, committed a cardinal sin by extracting from the Deed of Lease a single clause and read it to the world knowing very well that such documents should be constructed as a whole," Pascall said.