THE government has won a major court battle against the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) after the Orville London-led authority filed a constitutional motion which was determined in the Hall of Justice before Justice Nadia Kangaloo.
Justice Kangaloo ruled against the THA which was represented by Elton Prescott SC and Phillip Lamont while the Attorney General was represented by Seenath Jairam SC, Larry Lalla and Martin George.
The judgment defined the relationship between the THA and Central Government especially when it comes to matters of policy making and enforcement by Cabinet and Central Government in respect of the areas set out in the Fifth Schedule of the THA ACT 1996. Although the Fifth Schedule of the THA Act gives the THA control over several areas including matters such as State Lands, Tourism, Agriculture, Fisheries, Food Production, Telecommunications, Air and Sea Transport, Customs and Excise, Education, postal services and plant and animal quarantine.
The argument for Central Government is that while the THA has jurisdiction over these areas, it does not have autonomy and must still be subject to the decision making authority of Cabinet on policy issues in respect to all the areas set out in the Fifth Schedule.
Essentially, the effect of the Judgment is that if there is a National Policy for Trinidad and Tobago set by Central Government, through Cabinet, touching and concerning matters within the THA’s ambit of responsibility under the Fifth Schedule, the THA is bound by such National Policy directives and can’t override and/or ignore Cabinet or the Central Government.
Extracted From: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday Newspaper