PNM chairman Franklin Khan’s opening statements at Wednesday’s PNM Macoya Divali celebration noted that Divali transcends politics.
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Ruling on Re-route injunction August 8
The Appeal Court will deliver its decision on August 8 on the Highway Re-route Movement (HRM)’s application for an injunction to stop the Debe to Mon Desir segment of the Point Fortin Highway. Appeal Court judges Rajendra Narine, Gregory Smith and Prakash Moosai have been asked to overturn the ruling of High Court judge James Aboud who refused the HRM’s initial request in May.
During an appeal hearing earlier this month, Russell Martineau, SC, head of the State’s legal team, opposed the application. He cited the group’s unwarranted delay between the filing of its substantive lawsuit in August 2012 and the application, which the HRM sought during a case-management conference last September. Martineau submitted the injunction would lead to cost overruns on the project because of agreements with third party contractors.
He has also asked the court to pronounce on the behaviour of the group’s leader, environmentalist Dr Wayne Kublalsingh, who was arrested on several occasions for attempting to block vehicles and machinery at the construction site. State attorneys also have filed a cross-appeal, in which they are asking the court to strike out portions of Aboud’s judgment, in which he is alleged to have made final rulings on key issues of the substantive case which is yet to go on trial.
In response, lawyers representing the HRM contended they did not delay in seeking the injunction as their application was in response to increased activity at the site. Senior Counsel Fyard Hosein denied his client, Kublalsingh, engaged in illegal activity, saying he was exercising his constitutional right to protest. Hosein also argued that Aboud’s rulings on the key issues were only provisional and his opinion might change after hearing more detailed submissions during the trial. The State is being represented by Deborah Peake, SC, Kelvin Ramkisson, Gerald Ramdeen and Shastri Roberts. The HRM legal team includes Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj, SC, and Rishi Dass.