NWRHA spent $26m on external attorneys since 2015

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

The North West Regional Health Authority (NWRHA) paid over $26 million in legal fees to external attorneys from September 2015-January 2024.

The information was disclosed in a legal letter from Freedom Law Chambers after a January 18 request by UNC activist Ravi Balgobin Maharaj under the Freedom of Information Act.

The legal letter had been sent to the NWRHA in relation to the matter of the law firm’s proposed class-action claim on behalf of the parents of 19 babies who died at public health-care institutions, including seven who died from bacterial infections at the Port of Spain General Hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit between April 4 and 9.

Several attorneys received millions in legal fees from the NWRHA between September 2015 and January 2024, including Charles Law, who was retained for 23 matters and was paid approximately $7.3 million, and WASA chairman Ravindra Nanga, who received 17 legal briefs to the tune of over $4.34 million.

Justin Phelps was retained for eight matters at $3.75 million, Simeon Maskrey, KC, received over $3 million for two matters, and Devesh Maharaj and Associates was paid over $1 million for seven matters.

Other notable names and chambers appeared on the list including Al-Rawi, Hayes-Soon Hon and Co; former justice minister Christlyn Moore; JD Sellier and Co; now High Court judge Kevin Ramcharan; Pollonais, Blanc, de la Bastide and Jacelon; and current Attorney General Reginald Armour, SC.