The Heliconia Foundation For Young Professionals has filed two applications at the High Court of Judicature asking the Court for leave to judicially review the actions of the Attorney General Mr. Garvin Nicholas and Minister of Food Production Mr. Devant Maharaj for the failure and undue delay of the Ministry of the Attorney General and the Ministry of Food Production in responding to numerous Freedom of Information Requests.
This action by the Foundation comes on the heels of 15 pre-action letters sent in May 2015 against Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar and responsible Ministers in which the Foundation complained of the government’s systematic failure to respond to questions on the number of persons terminated, not renewed and the number of new persons employed by the Ministry of the Attorney General and the Ministry of Food Production from June 2010 to November 2014 as well as the reasons for their termination and non-renewal.
The Foundation’s evidence is in the form of affidavits and accompanying exhibits filed by President of the Foundation Mr. Michael Coppin and Vice-President Mr. Vyash Nandlal (who is also joined as an applicant in the application against the Minister of Food Production) and outline in detail the chronology of the purported breaches by Attorney General and the Minister of Food Production from November 2014 to August 2015.
The Foundation’s current legal team includes Mr. Farid Scoon and Mr. Saeed Trotter and efforts are underway to retain a battery of lawyers to review the vast breaches of the Freedom of Information Act by the present government in responding to the Foundation’s questions.
To date, a number of these requests under the Freedom of Information Act sent by the Foundation and several of its members (including several Councilors and an Alderman) remain unanswered and completely unacknowledged. While the Ministry of Food Production has been served with the application, attempts to serve the Attorney General at his office on Friday 14 August 2015 were futile as it was rejected by Ministry officials.
The Foundation also plans to release the information received by some Ministries including the Office of the Prime Minister following the pre-action letters in the coming weeks for public comment and scrutiny and for investigation by the relevant authorities.
Heliconia Foundation For Young Professionals The Heliconia Foundation For Young Professionals is a progressive think thank dedicated to promoting youth participation in decision making.