Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar has urged citizens not to heed the “spoilt ballot” lobby from Third Force Movement leader Timothy Hamel-Smith.
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Dumas’ lawsuit dismissed
A lawsuit challenging President Anthony Carmona’s appointment of two members of the Police Service Commission on the basis that they were unqualified for the job has been thrown out by the High Court. High Court judge Robin Mohammed dismissed the lawsuit, brought by former public service head Reginald Dumas, after ruling his lawyers made a fatal error under the Civil Proceedings Rules 1998 (CPR), which governs how civil ligation is initiated and managed.
Dumas filed the lawsuit, a constitutional motion last April after Carmona announced his nominations of former independent Dr James Armstrong and attorney Roamar Achat-Saney to the commission, which is tasked with the responsibility of appointing, dismissing, promoting and appraising the executive officers in the Police Service, including the Police Commissioner and Deputy Commissioners.
Dumas was asking the court to interpret Section 122(3) of the Constitution to determine if the nominations were lawful as the commission requires members who qualified and experienced in one of four disciplines: Law, finance, sociology and management. In dismissing the lawsuit, Mohammed said the lawsuit failed because Dumas was unable to show that his constitutional rights had been breached by Carmona’s decision.
“It appears that under the CPR, any interpretation of the Constitution can be only carried out by the court where the claimant alleges a breach of his or her fundamental rights and freedoms. This has not been alleged by the claimant,” Mohammed said. While he described Dumas’ lawsuit as admirable and in the public’s interest, Mohammed ruled it was filed as a concerned citizen who wanted to ensure the commission was properly constituted but was insufficient in circumventing the requirements under the CPR.
He also dismissed an application from Dumas’ lawyers who had asked the court to exercise its discretion to rectify the error in filing the lawsuit as he said such was not possible. Mohammed also ordered Dumas to pay the State’s legal costs for defending the claim. Dumas was represented by Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj, SC, Elaine Green and Margaret Clarke. Avory Sinanan, SC, Donna Prowell and Richard Arjoon-Jagai represented the State.
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