UDeCOTT vindicated by High Court Justice Mira Dean-Amorer’s findings.
Contact: Corporate Communications, 627-0083
March 5, 2010
The decision by the Urban Development Corporation of Trinidad and Tobago (UDeCOTT) to challenge the validity of the Commission of Enquiry into the Construction Sector and UDeCOTT on the grounds of apparent bias has been vindicated by the findings of High Court Justice Mira Dean-Amorer in its Application for Judicial Review.
Justice Dean-Amorer severely criticises the Commission’s behaviour, citing its sudden introduction of the evidence of Carl Khan as unfair, in that it deprived UDeCOTT of the opportunity to know what charges were being made against it.
She said the court was “appalled” at Professor Uff’s failure to treat Mr. Hart fairly, adding that Professor Uff was guilty of “negligent authoritarianism” in his treatment of UDeCOTT and Mr. Hart.
Justice Dean-Amorer, clearly outlined her findings of bias against UDeCOTT Executive Chairman Mr. Calder Hart by former Commissioner Israel Khan. She also notes that Mr. Israel Khan had been biased against UDeCOTT since January 2009.
She states: “In respect of questioning of Mr. Hart, the fair-minded observer would note the very clear attempt to suggest that Mr. Hart was unintelligent. For example, Mr. Khan’s questioning of the use of words such as visceral by Mr. Hart, as well as Mr. Khan’s reaction at Mr. Hart’s question as to the meaning of sagacious, Mr. Khan said, I take it you are Canadian, you would know what the word is”
Justice Dean-Amorer also points to former Commissioner Khan’s questioning of Mr. Hart about his training as an Economist, noting that – “the fair-minded observer would know that neither Mr. Hart’s intelligence nor his competence as an Economist were issues before the Commission of Enquiry,” she notes, adding that the fair-minded would form the view that there was a real possibility that Mr. Khan had a visceral dislike of Mr. Hart and that there was a real possibility of bias.
The Commission’s proposal that Mr. Sirju submit a memorandum commenting on the final report was illegal and was accordingly quashed.
UDeCOTT hopes that the two remaining Commissioners will be guided by the learned Judge’s findings and ensure that the final report treats UDeCOTT and Mr. Hart fairly and in accordance with their rights at law.