I wish to advise that I have been informed by the Privy Council Agents for the State that they have searched the Privy Council records and no appeal has been lodged by Dr. Kublalsingh and the Highway Re-route Movement to date.
I had in fact consented to the ‘Grant of Leave’ (permission) to enable an appeal to the Privy Council. I could have objected to this application but chose not to do so as I did not want to deny Dr. Kublalsingh and the members of the Highway Re-route Movement the right to take their case to the highest court.
It was my hope that such leniency would lead to a better understanding of the state’s position, highlight our overriding concern for the rule of law and the plight of Dr. Kublalsingh and his followers.
Dr. Kublalsingh and his group had been denied an injunction on three separate occasions by differently constituted courts as follows:
1. 7th May 2014 – Aboud J refused the application for a Conservatory Order on the grounds that there was unreasonable delay in pursuing the interim Conservatory Order, that there was no undertaking in damages offered, that third party commercial rights and the rights to adequate transport of those living in the area would be adversely affected- See paragraph 168 of the Judgment in CV 2012-03205.
2. 8th August 2014- Court of Appeal – Narine, Smith and Moosai JJA (Smith JA dissenting) refused Conservatory Order and upheld the decision of Aboud J not to grant the Order. The Court of Appeal also set aside certain findings of fact made by Aboud J.
3. 22nd September 2014, the Court of Appeal (Jamadar, Rajnauth-Lee and Moosai JJA) again refused a Conservatory Order and granted conditional leave to Kublalsingh and Others (by consent) to appeal to the Privy Council.
I have been instructed by the Honourable Prime Minister to ascertain the status of Dr Kublsinalgh’s appeal so that we can consider the suggestion that the State should not object to an application by Dr Kublalsingh for the Privy Council to expedite the hearing of this appeal. Unfortunately, it is not possible for us to give consideration to this at the moment because the Privy Council Agents for the State have confirmed that no appeal has been filed in the Privy Council to date.
I have no control over this as it is the duty of the Appellant and his lawyers to comply with the directions given by the Court of Appeal and file their client’s case in the Privy Council Registry when they are able and ready to do so. I have no control over the pace at which this is done as the State cannot prosecute an appeal on behalf of the losing party. The urgency and importance which lawyers attach to their client’s case should obviously be influenced by the particular circumstances and facts in each unique case.
I have never engaged in any action to deny Dr Kublalsingh and his followers their day in court.
In fact, I consented to the grant of permission for his appeal to be taken to the highest court so that he can have the satisfaction of knowing that he did his best and explored all his legal options.
How then, can the Government consider his call for the state to “not object” to an application for an expedited and early hearing of his appeal when there is in fact no appeal.
I cannot give consideration to something that does not in fact exist.
In accordance with the directive from the Honourable Prime Minister, I would be happy consider the position of the State, vis-a-vis any request for an urgent and early hearing if and when such an appeal is filed in accordance with the order of the Court of Appeal.
The ball is however, very much in the court of Dr Kublalsingh and his lawyers as I cannot prosecute his appeal for him.
My sympathy and compassion for Dr Kublalsingh cannot justify a violation of the legal procedures that govern an appeal to the Privy Council and must be balanced against the sympathy and compassion I feel for the tens of thousands of commuters who are forced to leave and return home when it is dark while still having to suffer through hours of frustrating, distressing and depressing traffic every day.
Anand Ramlogan SC
Attorney General of Trinidad and Tobago
Dated: 8th October 2014
MINISTRY OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
REPUBLIC OF TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO