Privy Council to hear local government case next week

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

File photo of the Hall of Justice.

FIVE law lords will hear the challenge of the Government’s move to extend the term of local government representatives which saw the postponement of the polls by a year next week Wednesday.

Challenging the move is political and social activist Ravi Balgobin-Maharaj who lost in the Court of Appeal in February.

Balgobin-Maharaj petitioned the Privy Council which has set March 15 for the hearing of his appeal.

The five law lords – Lords Reed, Hodge, Briggs, Kitchin, and Richards – have been asked to determine if the Appeal Court was wrong to decide that the Local Government Reform Act, which contains amendments to the Municipal Corporations Act, applied to those individuals who had been elected before the law came into effect.

Passed by a simple majority in 2022, the act allowed local government elections to be delayed by a year.

The election was due between December 2022 and March 2023, but the partial proclamation of local-government reform legislation allowed the extension of the terms of councillors and aldermen to four years.

Balgobin-Maharaj applied for permission to judicially review the decision of the government and for a temporary order to prevent those councillors elected in 2019 from continuing in office for another year.

His application was dismissed and the Appeal Court dismissed his challenge on the substantive issues after which he petitioned the London court.