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T&T owes debt of gratitude to Dumas

Published: 
Sunday, May 14, 2017

​The whole country owes a huge debt of gratitude to Reginald Dumas for mounting a legal challenge against the decision of the Attorney General to oppose his right, as a citizen of Trinidad &Tobago, to ask for a legal interpretation of a clause in the Constitution of T&T.

That he had to pursue the case, at his own expense I presume, as far as the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London, is unfortunate. If we recognized the Caribbean Court of Appeal he could have done it in Port-of-Spain, but that access was denied to him.

For a citizen, in the public interest, to ask for a legal interpretation of a clause in the Constitution is surely the most fundamental of human rights in a country that respects the rule of law based on the principles of democracy?

Justices Peter Jamadar, Nolan Bureaux, and Geoffrey Smith certainly thought so when the matter came before them.

The Privy Council judgment is an historic one with repercussions for the entire Commonwealth to consider as it establishes a citizen’s right to seek an interpretation of the Constitution of the country in which a citizen lives.

Thank You, Reggie Dumas.

Diana Mahabir-Wyatt

President, Caribbean Center for Human Rights