Sunday, January 21, 2018

Re-Route Movement loses another round

The Highway Re-Route Movement (HRM) has lost another round in its battle to halt work on the Debe to Mon Desir segment of the Sir Solomon Hochoy Highway extension to Pt Fortin.

The Court of Appeal yesterday ruled in favour of the State in the decision whether or not to overturn the ruling of High Court judge Justice James Aboud, who had dismissed an application for a conservatory order by members of the HRM to halt work along the contentious segment.

The judgment in favour of Government was two to one.

In his reaction to the judgment, HRM leader Dr Wayne Kublalsingh  said, “while we did not win the Court of Appeal matter we feel that we have sufficient grounds now because of the dissenting judgment to take it to the Privy Council. We will now be doing that and I think our attorneys have a more than fair chance of winning at that level.”

According to Kublalsingh, “Justice Gregory Smith, he was in our favour so in other words he found the judgment of trial Judge James Aboud was wrong so he ruled in our favour but the other judges, Justice Rajendra Narine and Justice Prakash Moosai, they ruled against us, they dismissed the appeal.”

Kublalsingh added, “This is a case of about process and a Prime Minister disregarding a promise which she made and it’s about the law of legitimate expectation and the breaking of a promise which she made to the Highway Re-Route Movement and the other question is about whether the HRM delayed in making an application before the courts when we were asking about an conservatory order or injunction to hold the work on the Mon Desir Highway.”

The HRM was seeking an order to prevent the continuation of construction work along the segment of the highway, on the basis that the Government failed to keep its promise to take into consideration the recommendations of the Dr James Armstrong report.

They also contended that the rights of residents to enjoyment of property would have been trampled upon should that section of the highway be constructed.

In May this year, Justice Aboud dismissed the application on the basis of the length of time the movement took before making the application. Despite not granting the conservatory order, however, Justice Aboud agreed with the group that there was a breach of the principle of legitimate expectation by the Government not considering the report.