LEGAL action has been taken against the Government in an attempt to stop construction of the Debe to Mon Desir segment of the Solomon Hochoy Highway from Golconda to Point Fortin.
The lawsuit was filed yesterday at the Hall of Justice in Port of Spain.
Named as claimants on behalf of over 600 residents are environmental activist Dr Wayne Kublalsingh, Riaz Karim, Elizabeth Rambharose, Ramkaran Bhagwansingh, Malcolm Mohan and Ameena Mohammed, who are all members, of the Highway Re-Route Movement.
Represented by attorneys Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj SC, Fyard Hosein SC, Rishi Dass, Vijaya Maharaj and Anil Maraj, a declaration is being sought by the claimants that the action and/or decision of National Security Minister, Jack Warner, to forcibly remove them from the protest camp at Debe and demolish it on June 27 was unlawful.
The court is also being asked to declare that the acceptance by the army and the police of Warner's instructions to demolish and remove the camp was illegal and that the doctrine of the separation of powers was breached. No date has yet been set for the hearing of the lawsuit.
The members of the Highway Re-Route Movement say any decision to remove them and their protest camp could only have been lawfully made by the Commissioner for State Lands and only by an order of a Magistrate or a Judge could they have been forcibly removed.
On behalf of the affected residents, the court is being asked to grant a conservatory order to stop the construction of the Debe to Mon Desir segment of the highway and to stay all notices served under the Land Acquisition Act pending the heAaring and determination of the matter.
They are contending that their constitutional rights to life, security, enjoyment of property, to the protection of the law, to freedom of expression and freedom of association have all been contravened.
They say the Debe to Mon Desir segment is destructive and contrary to modern planning approaches to development and a proposal has been made for an alternative system of road development which, the contend, would result in the saving of 300 homes, 13 businesses, a temple, a church, a mosque and an orphanage.
Among the affidavits filed is one by former Member of Parliament for Oropouche, Trevor Sudama who was also a Minister of Planning, Agriculture, Food Production and Marine Resources.
The members of the Highway Re-Route Movement who have been camping outside the Hall of Justice since July 5 say they will no longer continue with their prayer and fasting at that location since they do not wish to appear to be putting any pressure on the courts.