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Another snag for Highway Re-route Movement

Saturday, February 15, 2014
Chinese Ambassador Huang Xingyuan presents Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar with a token from the China Disabled People's Performing Arts Troupe after a press conference held at the Office of Parliament, Port-of-Spain, yesterday afternoon. PHOTO: MARYANN AUGUSTE

The Highway Re-route Movement’s (HRM’s) bid for an urgent injunction to stop construction works on the Solomon Hochoy Highway extension hit another snag yesterday. High Court judge James Aboud, who is presiding over the group’s lawsuit, was expected to hear submissions on the application yesterday. However, when the case was called State attorneys said they had applied to the Appeal Court for a stay of the proceedings before him. 


The State’s proposed application for the stay, if successful, will expire after the Appeal Court determines the State’s appeal of Aboud’s decision last month not to recuse himself from the case. The appeal and the stay application are expected to be heard on Monday. Aboud said he felt the hearing should be adjourned because if the Appeal Court ruled he should recuse himself, the time spent hearing submissions would have been wasted. 


“I doubt that between now and Monday there would be any activity that would severely prejudice the claimants (the HRM),” Aboud said, before he adjourned the matter to next Tuesday. The group sought the urgent injunction last week, when the State was due to respond to a similar application for an injunction filed almost four months ago. 


The group’s lead attorney, Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj, SC,  had said his clients could not wait for the first application to be determined, as the State had ramped up construction at the site since the beginning of this month, and the project might reach an advanced stage while the initial application was being determined. Russell Martineau, SC, who is heading the State’s legal team, objected to the application while questioning the timing of the HRM, as he said work at the site had been going on since the group filed the lawsuit in 2012. 


“Not one of these claimants can say they need this because their house is being threatened by demolition,” Martineau said.


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