AG: Cremation matter before Court of Appeal

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Attorney General Reginald Armour, SC –

ATTORNEY General Reginald Armour, SC, says a recent High Court ruling that the ban on open pyre cremations for people who died from covid19 was unconstitutional, is being appealed.

He made the statement in response to a question from Couva South MP Rudranath Indarsingh in the House of Representatives on April 19.

Indarsingh asked Armour to indicate whether families who were affected by the ban would be compensated in light of the judgment.

“This substantive matter is ongoing before the Court of Appeal and therefore obviously sub judice.”

Armour said all MPs were aware that it would be a breach of House standing order 49 to comment on a matter before any recognised court, before that matter has been concluded.

On February 27, Justice Avason Quinlan-Williams ruled the ban was unconstitutional. This was in relation to a lawsuit filed by the daughter of a covid19 victim who had challenged the 2020 guidelines for funeral homes at the height of the pandemic in 2020.

In the decision, Quinlan-Williams held that after considering all the evidence, she found as a fact that the guidelines for hospital staff and funeral agencies “were made to be and were treated to be prohibitions on open-air pyre cremations.”

She also held that the police, at the time, held the belief they were prohibited from permitting open-air pyre cremations.

“The court was satisfied that by August 2021, any ban on open-air pyre cremations was no longer proportionate and would have been unconstitutional,”