The Board of Directors of The CEPEP Company Limited must now resign after a High Court struck down an attempt to prevent me from exposing corruption and other wrongdoing at the company.
The taxpayer-owned company had gone to Court to seek to silence me, through a frivolous claim of defamation.
But, in a landmark victory for freedom of expression in Trinidad and Tobago, the Court threw out the suit and ruled that, “in the public interest”, the company was debarred from initiating a legal claim of defamation.
Justice Ronnie Boodoosingh on Wednesday delivered judgement in the matter, which was brought against me by CEPEP last October.
The judge ordered that the company pay legal costs.
CEPEP had filed the legal suit after my claim against the company, on August 24, 2015, for defamation against me in a newspaper advertisement.
Of note is that, as Minister of Housing and Urban Development in the previous administration, I had Cabinet responsibility for CEPEP.
The Court’s ruling must now lead to the resignation – or dismissal – of the Board of Directors for attempting.
The CEPEP court action is one measure in an on-going conspiracy to stifle my criticisms of the incompetent and hopeless Rowley regime.
Just last Friday, members of the government sought to censor my contribution in the House of Representatives.
Justice Boodoosingh ruled that citizens must be free to criticize and raise questions about CEPEP, which is guided by government policies and ultimately governed by elected public officials.
He noted that CEPEP “is executing government functions with State funds…”
The Court’s judgement strongly upholds and guards citizens’ rights to diligently hold public institutions to account.
It is also a telling blow against the Rowley regime, which went all the way to the Court to seek to gag criticisms of a taxpayer-funded organisation by an elected representative of the people.
I wish to avow that, in defence of the public interest, the political Opposition will continue to hold the bungling PNM government to account and will not be intimidated by raw bullying and harassment.
The Court’s judgement reaffirms citizens’ legal rights to speak out against corruption, ineptitude and mismanagement at State corporations.
I will continue to fearlessly do so. I will not be silenced. I will speak out against corruption until my last breath.