Leader of the Highway Reroute Movement (HRM) Dr Wayne Kublalsingh said the group is preparing to appeal the recent high court ruling on the controversial Debe to Mon Desir segment of the Solomon Hochoy Highway extension to Point Fortin.
A release from Kublalsingh on Monday said the group is consulting with its members and attorneys.
The release said the group is satisfied that the court agreed that the Minister of Works gave them an undertaking on March 13, 2017 – to consult them before resuming work on the segment after it was stopped in early 2016.
“We are satisfied that the court found that this undertaking, expressed in a press release two days after the HRM’s meeting with the minister and state officials, was clear, unambiguous and without relevant qualification,” the release said.
On Friday last week, Justice Ricky Rahim dismissed the judicial review lawsuit brought by the environmentalist and the group against the Works and Transport minister. They were challenging the government’s move to restart work on the contentious segment. The judge ordered them to pay the State’s legal costs for defending the claim.
Kublalsingh said, “We are satisfied that by taking the matter to the court, the HRM acted as any civil public-interest body would do, after having been given such a promise, and after the failure of the minister to consult before restarting works, despite several written appeals to him to do so.”
He and the group are satisfied that at no point in the judgement did the judge impugn the group’s conduct in the case. Kublalsingh added that at no point did the group engaged in any form of delay, denial, deferral or deceit.
“At all times our conduct was candid, open, honest and helpful to the court.”
The group is also satisfied, Kublalsingh said, that the court’s argument in favour of them, concerning an overriding public interest, has opened several grounds for a successful appeal.
“The HRM holds firmly to the position that public officials must act, in this instance, in key areas of public and ecological health, and public finance and project execution, honestly, transparently and with candour.”
The consequences of fraudulent actions, or defending, shoring up or justifying such actions, are detrimental to the extreme, Kublalsingh said. He vowed that the group is duty-bound to continue its long advocacy, which started in 2005.
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