The State has settled the Claim for Judicial Review filed by the Heliconia Foundation for Young Professionals and its Vice President of Finance Vyash Nandlal against Devant Maharaj, former Minister of Food Production for the systematic breaches and undue delay by the former Minister in responding to numerous Freedom of Information Requests sent by the Foundation and Mr. Nandlal.
The Claim, filed on August 28, 2015 by the Foundation, came on the heels of 15 pre-action letters sent in May 2015 against former Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar and several of her former Ministers in which the Foundation complained of the former 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 Food Production from June 2010 to November 2014 as well as the reasons for their termination and non-renewal.
The matter came up for hearing before the Honorable Justice Robin Mohammed on October 28, 2015 and Attorney at Law for the Ministry of Food Production asked that the matter be discontinued as the Ministry was now ready to produce the information requested since November 2014.
The Foundation’s evidence attached to the Claim was in the form of affidavits and accompanying exhibits filed by President of the Foundation and now Government Senator Mr. Michael Coppin and Vice-President of Finance Mr. Vyash Nandlal (who was also joined as a Claimant in the application against the Minister of Food Production) and outlined in detail the chronology of the purported breaches by 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 leave for judicial review against Garvin Nicholas former Attorney General for similar breaches of the Act is currently before the High Court for determination.
The Order of Justice Mohammed dated October 28, 2015 also ordered the State to pay the Claimants’ legal costs to be assessed in default of agreement. Heliconia Foundation For Young Professionals.