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The Constitution has been overthrown—Ramesh
In the face of mounting criticisms against the People's Partnership following the demolition of the Highway Re-route Movement's camp, civil rights lawyer Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj is already preparing a barrage of lawsuits against government officials, police and soldiers. Maharaj made this statement after speaking with the activists. Maharaj told the activists the T&T Constitution was overthrown.
“It has been overthrown because a minister of government does not have the power under the Constitution and the laws of Trinidad and Tobago to give direction to police officers in respect of a matter like this," Maharaj said. A few hours earlier, Chief of Defence Staff Kenrick Maharaj said his team was acting under instructions from National Security Minister, Jack Warner.
Ramesh Maharaj said the commander of the Defence Force was responsible for the army. “What has happened here today is that every police officer or army officer who took instructions from the minister can on investigation by the Director of Public Prosecutions be prosecuted for a criminal conduct or misconduct in public office,” Maharaj said. He added: "The minister himself could be the subject of criminal investigation, because under the laws of Trinidad and Tobago, ministers do not interfere in individual cases to give instructions to the police to prosecute, to search or to break down anybody’s house."
“The law makes it clear under the State Lands Act of Trinidad and Tobago, if there is anyone squatting on State lands and they have been there for a while, that the government has a duty to serve them a notice and the government has to take steps to take action in the court to get possession because there could be good reasons why the persons have to remain on the land for a period of time," Maharaj said. Maharaj said Warner’s action violated the enjoyment of fundamental human rights.
“If a minister of government can do this, what prevents him from going to the home of anyone who criticises him with the police and with the army and search his home and arrest him. If a minister of government can do this, what prevents him from going to any of the media stations or any journalist’s home who have offended him. “What prevents him from going to another minister’s home who he doesn’t like?" Maharaj said. The campsite was put up two months ago after activists opposed the second leg of the $7 billion highway. The last consultation held by Government at the Debe High School ended in chaos.
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