THA Chief Secretary Orville London has said the Tobago House of Assembly intends to appeal Wednesday’s ruling against it in the Port of Spain High Court, before Justice Nadia Kangaloo.
“Based on the comments and the recommendations, the initial recommendations from the legal counsel, it is more than likely the decision would be appealed, because there are at least four or five grounds where we believe the judge has erred in law,” London said.
He said the THA Act of 1996 is subject to various interpretations, and this serves as a wake up call for all of Tobago.
London said this government was the first in all the years of the THA, to challenge the autonomy and elements of the THA Act 40 1996.
”The challenge I have is that a cynical government can wake up one morning and strip away even the limited autonomy that we have at this point in time. The judge’s ruling has fuelled the very disrespectful manner in which the THA has been treated.”
London is confident the present matter could be challenged at another level.
“The impression is being given that the Central Government based on the 1996 Act has the right to wilfully, mischievously, even cynically undermine the authority of the THA as granted by the THA Act 40 of 1996. That could not be the intent of the draftsmen.”
Tobago Organisation of the People (TOP) Leader Ashworth Jack blamed this situation on the People’s National Movement (PNM).
“Tobago is where it is today in terms of internal self-government as a result of the PNM. On every occasion the matter went to the Parliament, the PNM refused to support the issue of internal self-government.”
In fact, Jack said, the ruling showed waste of taxpayers’ money by the PNM-led THA, in that it brought the matter to the court in the first place.
“It saddens me that we are at a standstill, and I think everything should be done to move the issue of internal self-government to a place where we get it, but we also have to do safeguards.”
Jack said the matter is one which indicates an abuse of power by persons in high office. The THA will be holding an emergency press conference on the matter at 10 a.m. today.
Extracted From: Trinidad Express Newspaper