Tuesday, February 20, 2018

'Re-Route' lawyers file in High Court

LAWYERS representing the Highway Re-Route Movement and its hunger strike leader, Dr Wayne Kublalsingh, on Monday filed a High Court application seeking an early trial in the lawsuit that seeks to block the State from building the highway between Debe and Mon Desir.

The application, filed in the Hall of Justice, also seeks an order that the Attorney General submit all evidence in defence of the claim in short time.

The urgency has come as result of Kublalsingh's extreme decision last Thursday to embark on a hunger strike, demanding a face-to-face meeting with Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar.

The request for a speedy trial is also in response to the reports that earth movers have begun clearing land to begin construction on the disputed segment of the proposed highway route.

Up to yesterday, the State had not filed any evidence in the case, the Express learnt.

In August, legal action was filed by attorneys Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj, SC, Fyard Hosein, SC, Anil Maraj, Rishi Dass and Vijaya Maharaj.

The claimants, on behalf of more than 600 residents, were named as environmental activist Dr Kublalsingh and five Highway Re-Route members.

The legal action seeks a declaration that the action and/or decision of the National Security Minister Jack Warner, to forcibly remove them from a protest camp at Debe and demolish it on June 27, was unlawful.

The court is also being asked to declare the decision of the police and army to act on instructions from Warner and demolish and remove the camp was illegal, and the doctrine of the separation of powers was breached.

The Express was told yesterday that an application for a conservatory order to stop any construction on the lands between Debe and Mon Desir was not pursued at the time, because no construction work was being done in the disputed area.

Instead, the legal team began filing evidence. On August 3, 11 affidavits were filed and served on the Office of the Attorney general.

On September 4, three affidavits were filed, including the evidence of an environmental scientist.