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Kall Co stops highway work for 24 hours
Work on the Churchill Roosevelt Highway extension to Manzanilla has been temporarily halted for less than 24 hours, as the Appeal Court mulls over whether environmental group Fishermen and Friends of the Sea (FFOS) should be given an interim injunction pending the determination of its appeal against the dismissal of its lawsuit.
Contractor Kall Co gave the undertaking yesterday during a procedural hearing before Appellate Judge Peter Rajkumar to decide on the injunction and whether FFOS should be granted an urgent hearing of its appeal.
After listening to over seven hours of submissions at the Hall of Justice, Port-of-Spain, Rajkumar asked Kall Co and the Ministry of Works and Transport if they were willing to give an undertaking as he would take a week to determine the issue of urgency.
Kall Co’s lawyers only agreed to stop its work until today, when the submissions are expected to be completed and Rajkumar will give his decision on the temporary injunction.
FFOS is appealing a decision by High Court Judge Kevin Ramcharan to dismiss their judicial review lawsuit challenging the process used by the Environmental Management Authority (EMA) to grant a Certificate of Environmental Clearance (CEC) for the project.
As a result of his decision to refuse FFOS leave to pursue its claim, the interim injunction which he granted when construction work began last month was automatically discharged.
Ramcharan’s decision was largely based on the fact that the lawsuit was filed outside the three-month statutory limit. He said while FFOS was required to file the lawsuit three months after the EMA granted the ministry the CEC on June 22, it filed it exactly three months after it learned of the CEC on July 6.
FFOS is claiming Ramcharan should have used his discretion to extend the time limit due to the public interest in the case.
In addition to rejecting the claim based on the unreasonable delay, Ramcharan ruled that all 14 grounds raised by FFOS in the lawsuit did not have a realistic prospect of success it they were eventually taken to trial. Ramcharan also said he felt the EMA has followed the required process before granting the CEC.
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