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PP Government Protecting Public Interest

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Last week’s decision of the Appeal Court on a matter involving three former directors of the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT) sent a signal that in spite of all the media hype and opposition propaganda, the courts have maintained their independence within a judicial system that acts on the basis of the rule of law in exercising judgment. 


On Monday, Chief Justice Ivor Archie, and two appellate judges—Nolan Bereaux and Gregory Smith—dismissed an appeal by three of the UTT’s seven former directors with respect to the lease of a luxury guesthouse, against the advice of the board. Giselle Marfleet, Scott Hilton-Clarke and Errol Pilgrim had asked the court to overturn a decision by Justice Vasheist Kokaram in which the judge ruled that the former directors had a case to answer with respect to an alleged breach of fiduciary responsibility. 


That matter arose out of a lawsuit filed by UTT in September 2012 against its former directors, claiming that they failed to exercise due diligence in the sub-leasing of the guesthouse at a monthly rent of $50,000 for five years and the subsequent expenditure of $10 million to refurbish the property. The other former directors named in the lawsuit—Prof Ken Julien, Dr Rene Monteil, Ravindra Nath-Maharaj and Lincoln Warner—were not a part of the appeal.


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