Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 24th 2013 Contents A5
Wednesday, July 24, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
to amend the proclama-
tion of the Administra-
tion of Justice (Indictable
Offences) Act on August
2 and implement only a
pilot project. It will be
limited to St George
Dana Seetahal, SC,
who spoke about the
consequences of the
move yesterday, said she
had heard about govern-
ment s intention from
But in an interview yesterday at her
El Dorado law chambers, St Vincent
Street, Port-of-Spain, Seetahal
described the decision as "dangerous."
She added: "You can have a pilot
project if, for instance, you are planning
to have various projects across the
country of anything that does not need
"But in terms of this act, it is sup-
posed to come into force on August 2,
according to the proclamation that was
already issued. Until that proclamation
is already rescinded, that s how it is
going to happen now and nobody has
shown me any replacement proclama-
Seetahal said if by a pilot project it
was meant that the new law was to be
proclaimed to apply to only one area
of the country, there would then be
"serious concerns as to the legality."
She explained: "I have never heard
of anything, other than in a state of
emergency, where you declare an emer-
gency to exist in one locality, which is
"I don t know anywhere that we
could say an act which is meant to
have general application could now be,
at the desire of the government,
restricted in its application for a short
Since the act was of general appli-
cation, she said, it was supposed to
apply throughout the entire country.
Seetahal added: "This is one country
and remains one country. There is
nothing in here in the act which says
St George West. If it is going to be a
pilot project and not throughout the
whole country, then it is dangerous.
"The Parliament allowed the Pres-
ident the power to proclaim the act.
So it has nothing to do with anything
saying the act should come into effect
in certain localities as the President
"The Statutes Act,
which deals with how
statutes are brought into
effect, does not give any
power in any proclama-
tion to decide that the act
only applies to one area."
Saying that St George
West was a magisterial
district, Seetahal said
people outside that area
who wanted to have their
matters dealt with speed-
ily might be deprived of
"Is it then because of
geographical location of
the crime, that if you have
committed a crime in Port-of-Spain,
you would get the benefit of getting it
through the system quickly?
"It is untidy, it is unseemly and it
is contrary to what was intended when
the act was passed," Seetahal said.
President of the Criminal Bar Asso-
ciation Pamela Elder, SC, also raised
concerns about the proposal.
Elder, in an interview at her chambers
on Alfredo Street, Woodbrook, made
it clear the association was not told
that a pilot project would be imple-
mented but said that was the word
among the legal fraternity.
"I have been hearing a lot of talk. If
there is a plan to have a pilot project,
I would really like to know the justi-
fication," Elder said.
Echoing Seetahal s comment that
the act was one of general application,
Elder also questioned the scope of the
project, whether there would be an
offence limitation, if so to what
offences, and the process by which that
She said: "We have to be careful peo-
ple don t cry discriminatory treatment,
that an offender in one area is being
treated differently from an offender in
"We have to understand that the
whole object of this legislation is to
expedite the criminal justice system,
to expedite criminal trials. If we have
a ladder of crimes, is the pilot project
going to deal with the most serious of
offences, mainly the murders?" Elder
questioned. Saying she had "serious
concerns" about a pilot project being
brought about by proclamation, Elder
added that was an issue which called
for deep consideration.
The act replaced the Indictable
Offences (Preliminary Inquiry) Act, and
provides for a new system of paper
committals instead of preliminary
inquiries in the magistrates courts.
Plan to limit
...'Pilot project decision dangerous'
"Misrepresenting issues with-
out remorse" is how former plan-
ning, housing and environment
minister Dr Emily Gaynor Dick-
Forde described her successor Dr
Roodal Moonilal s statement that
the Housing Development Cor-
poration (HDC) had bought a car
In a statement yesterday, Dick-
Forde said the HDC never bought
any cars for her or former junior
minister Tina Gronlund-Nunez.
Moonilal said in an interview
on July 12 that the HDC would
usually provide transportation for
ministers and during the PNM
administration it had bought two
cars for the former ministers.
He said: "The HDC, over the
years, has been in the habit. They
provide some transport support
"They bought two vehicles, inci-
dentally, for Dick-Forde, the former
minister and Gronlund-Nunez, the
former junior minister.
"They had purchased vehicles
and when I came into office, the
HDC provided me with the same
support that they provided for for-
mer ministers. Nothing more,
But Dick-Forde, in her state-
ment, said Moonilal had misled
the public in making that com-
She said: "Even more disturbing
is the current Housing Minister
misleading the public by reporting
that the HDC purchased cars for
former ministers and naming for-
mer senator Gronlund-Nunez and
"It is outrageous that this min-
ister continues to misrepresent
issues without remorse or concern
that these lies can be easily verified
and exposed as such."
Dick-Forde said when she served
as Housing Minister, no vehicles
were leased for their exclusive use.
She said the vehicle she used
was a Hyundai Tucson and when
there were mechanical failures, the
HDC provided a Kia Sportage.
She added: "As the immediate
former minister with responsibility
for housing I can say without fear
of contradiction that the HDC
never leased any Range Rover or
luxury vehicle---or any vehicle for
that matter---for the exclusive use
of the minister.
"Nor did the HDC purchase a
vehicle for any former housing
minister under the PNM when I
was Minister of Planning Housing
and the Environment from
November 17, 2007 to May 23,
"When I took up the portfolio
of Minister of Planning, Housing
and the Environment I was told
that there was a driver who is usu-
ally made available from the HDC
for the minister when needed, par-
ticularly for site visits of housing
"The driver was also rostered to
do HDC deliveries and other work
using the same vehicle.
"He had a Tucson is what I
recall. I was reminded by a former
staff member that when the a/c
in that vehicle broke down he
would use a Sportage.
"All were pre-2007 models.
They were never exclusive to the
She said the management of
HDC would have been wrong and
"operating against its purpose" to
buy a car or even lease one for
herself or Gronlund-Nunez.
Moonilal could not be reached
for comment yesterday.
HDC never bought car
Dr Emily Gaynor Dick-Forde
President Anthony Carmona presents Dr Marjorie Thorpe with her instrument of appointment as
chairman of the Public Service Commission at the Office of the President in St Ann's yesterday.
PHOTO: SHIRLEY BAHADUR
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