Friday, September 21, 2012

Judge orders Calder Hart to pay $16,800, says former UDeCOTT boss must face trial in T&T

Calder Hart
A judge on Thursday ruled that former executive chairman of the Urban Development Corporation (UDeCOTT) Calder Hart must return to Trinidad to face trial. In addition Hart must pay UDeCOTT $16,800 in legal costs.

Justice Andre des Vignes made the order with respect to application seeking an extension of time for Hart to file his defence to a pre-action protocol letter dated October 17, 2011. The state is claiming nearly $66 million from Hart relating to contracts for the Brian Lara Cricket Academy and the Ministry of Legal Affairs Tower.

Hart’s attorneys claimed that their client would not be able to file a proper defence until the state provide all the documents relating to contracts for the two. The judge ruled against that, saying Hart does not have any good reason for not filing his defence.

Attorney General Anand Ramlogan filed the civil lawsuit against Hart in the Port-of-Spain High Court on May 1. Hart is living abroad and did not appear on his own behalf. 
The judge stated that Hart would be required to attend the hearings at the case-management stage of the proceedings. That's scheduled for December 4. 

Ramlogan told reporters he is pleased with the ruling. "We have spent a lot of time to comply with the pre-action protocol procedures and Mr Hart was supposed to file his defence. I am very happy the court did not grant a long extension of time but in fact ordered him to do so promptly," Ramlogan said.

He added that the Hart matter is of great public importance and the state is anxious to proceed. He added that he is disappointed that Hart did not attend Thursday's court hearing but is heartened by the fact that "the court has ordered his attendance on the next occasion as the rules of court require both parties to a case to present themselves before the court. No exceptions should be made for Mr Hart because no one is above the law."

Former Prime Minister Patrick Manning was a strong defender of Hart. He and the present leader of the People's National Movement fell out over Hart, with Keith Rowley accusing Manning of covering up for Hart and of leading a corrupt government.
Click here to read the story: Manning defends Calder Hart
Speaking in Parliament in 2009 about the Uff probe into UDeCOTT Rowley said:
"Right now, I am saying to my colleagues that what this Commission of Inquiry is looking at, is ten times worse than what happened in Piarco Airport. It’s even more brazen. I cannot believe they could have been so bold...Why should people be sacrificed to allow others, wrongdoers, to prosper? That is what we are being called upon to do, colleagues."

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Jai & Sero

Jai & Sero

Our family at home in Toronto 2008

Our family at home in Toronto 2008
Amit, Heather, Fuzz, Aj, Jiv, Shiva, Rampa, Sero, Jai