COMMERCIAL LAW MEMORANDUM ON EXCHANGE CONTROL

1. The Exchange Control Act Chap. 79:50 regulates all foreign currency transactions in Trinidad and Tobago and is designed to prevent the escape of currency and preserve the Country’s foreign exchange reserve. Prior to April 12, 1993 there existed under the Exchange Control Act and Regulations made thereunder a range of controls and restrictions in respect of dealings in gold, local and foreign currencies, securities and payments to non-residents designed strictly to control any leakage of foreign exchange. To be lawful any such dealings required the prior approval of the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago.

2. With the passage of the Central Bank (Amendment) Act, 1993 and the par value of the Trinidad and Tobago Dollar Order, 1993, the majority of the previously existing restrictions and controls were repealed.

3. The par value of the Trinidad and Tobago Dollar now floats as against the United States Dollar and consequently against every other foreign currency. The rate of exchange is now based on the prevailing market rates which are defined in the case of an authorised dealer as such rate as the authorised dealer may from time to time specify as its buying and selling rates for the United States Dollar and in the case of the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago such rate as the Bank shall determine as the average of the buying and selling rates for the United States Dollar specified by each authorised dealer.

4. Persons may now freely buy, borrow, sell or lend gold or foreign currency from each other outside Trinidad and Tobago and all persons within Trinidad and Tobago can now buy, borrow, sell and lend gold and foreign currency to/from authorised dealers only without the approval of the Central Bank. Neither the Central Bank nor any authorised dealer can any longer place a restriction as to the use to which any gold or foreign currency sold/borrowed from them must be put or the period for which such gold or foreign currency may be retained by the buyer/borrower.

5. There is no longer any obligation to sell gold/foreign currency to an authorised dealer and these items may now be retained without any interference by the Central Bank. Payments may now be made within or outside Trinidad and Tobago to or from or on behalf of anyone.

6. There is no longer a need in the case of investment from abroad to obtain Exchange Control approval in principle before the investment is made and loans may now be made to non-residents without the approval of the Central Bank.

7. With the liberalisation of the foreign currency regime the repatriation of capital is no longer subject to Exchange Control approval.

 

Extracted From: Trinidad and Tobago Law.com

Commercial Law Memorandum On Foreign Investment

1. The former restrictive provisions of the Aliens (Landholding) Act have been repealed and replaced by a new Foreign Investment Act, No. 16 of 1990 designed to encourage investment by foreign investors.

2. A foreign investor is defined by the Act to mean:-

(a) An individual who is neither a citizen of “a Caricom member country” nor a resident of Trinidad and Tobago;
(b) Any firm, partnership or unincorporated body of persons of whom at least one half of its members consist of persons to whom (a) or (c) applies; or
(c) Any company that is not incorporated in a Caricom member country, or if so incorporated is under the control of a person to whom paragraph (a) or (b) applies or is deemed to be under the control of a foreign investor in accordance with sub?section (2) of Section 2.

3. Section 2(2) of the Act provides that a company shall be deemed to be under the control of foreign investors if:-

(a) At least one-half of the votes exercisable at a meeting of the company or corporation are vested in foreign investors; or
(b) Having a share capital, at least one half of the nominal amount of its issued shares that are voting shares are vested in foreign investors;
(c) Not having a share capital, at least one?half in number of its members are foreign investors; or
(d) It is fact controlled by foreign investors.

4. A “Caricom member country” is one whose laws provide investment facilities for citizens of Trinidad and Tobago similar to those provided by the latter for citizens of Caricom member countries, as specified by the Minister by Order under Section 18.

5. A foreign investor may make the following investments in Trinidad and Tobago under the Foreign Investment Act without the requirement of a licence:-

(a) Incorporate a private company in Trinidad and Tobago or acquire shares in a private company incorporated in Trinidad and Tobago;
(b) Acquire shares in a local public company up to a maximum of 30% of the total cumulative shareholding, direct or indirect, of the local public company;
(c) Acquire land for residential purposes up to a maximum of one acre;
(d) Acquire land for the purposes of trade or business up to a maximum of five acres;
(e) Acquire land jointly with a spouse if the spouse is a citizen of a Caricom member country resident in Trinidad and Tobago.

“Land” does not include money charged on land, mortgages, charges or debentures or oil rights.

6. However with respect to investments made under paragraphs 5(b) and (b) above the foreign investor is required to submit to the Minister of Finance particulars of the investment in accordance with the provisions of the First Schedule to the Act and with respect to these investments made under paragraphs 5(c), (d) and (e) above notice of the vesting must be given to the Minister in accordance with the Third Schedule of the Act.

7. In all other instances foreign investment in land in Trinidad and Tobago would require a licence from the President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. The Minister may also designate particular areas of land in respect of which a licence will always be required.

8. Section 10 of the Act provides that the consideration for investment by a foreign investor must be paid in an internationally traded currency through a person authorised by law as a dealer in that foreign currency except where in the case of a company incorporated in Trinidad and Tobago such consideration is financed out of capital reserves or retained earnings generated from its operations in Trinidad and Tobago. A citizen of a Caricom member country who is otherwise not a “foreign investor” is also made subject to this requirement.

9. No land or shares in a public company may be held on trust for a foreign investor without a licence (Section 11).

10. The title of Aliens lawfully holding land under licence or otherwise at the commencement of the Act is not affected by the Act nor are registered Banks or Financial Institutions subject to it (Section 14).

 

Extracted From: Trinidad & Tobago Law.com

THE PROCESS OF LAWMAKING

Prepared by The Parliament Secretariat

The Red House, Port-of-Spain

What are laws?

All organizations need rules to function. Society, as the most complex of organizations, needs a large variety of rules to govern relations with and between its members. Because society is constantly changing, these rules need regular updating, and new rules need to be made to meet new circumstances.

There are two sorts of rules which regulate the activities of society. There are customs and conventions, and there are laws. There are two types of law – common law and statute law. Common law is made by the decisions of judges in particular cases. Statute law is made by a legislative body (a Parliament). It is with statute law that this article is concerned.

Each country has its own laws and Trinidad and Tobago is no exception. As a nation, it has its own laws.

The Parliament, by section 39 of the Constitution, comprises the President and the two Houses, the Senate and the House of Representatives. All three constituent parts of the Parliament are involved in the process of making a law.

A proposal for a new law, or for amendments to an existing law, can be initiated in either House (except for “money” bills – see “Powers of the Houses in respect of Bills”). When introduced into a House of Parliament, a proposal for a new law or for amendments to an existing law becomes known as a bill. After a bill has passed both Houses it is presented to the President for assent, or approval. The grant of assent which is done in the name of the President, converts the bill into an Act-an Act of the Parliament of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. It is then part of the law of the land.

An Act, although assented to, does not necessarily come into immediate operation. In fact there is often a delay between the assent and when the Act comes into force.

Draft Laws – Bills

A bill is a draft of a legislative proposal. It can consist of proposals to deal with any matter affecting peoples lives such as the export and import of certain goods or measures to deal with importation of medical supplies.

Types of Bills

Private Bills usually affect the private rights or interests of particular persons such as corporate bodies, a club or a church.

Public Bills or Government bills deal with matters of general,public interest affecting the entire citizenry such as the prices of goods and services or traffic regulations.

Most bills introduced into the Parliament are sponsored by the Government. The majority of government bills are introduced first into the House of Representatives because that is the House where the Government is based, and where most Ministers are located. It is also the House with the “financial initiative” in respect of “money” bills. However, government bills (except “money” bills) within the portfolios of Senate Ministers are usually first introduced into the Senate.

Draft Laws – Bills Continued

Government Bills may originate from a variety of different situations. For example, someone, based on his working experience, may see the need to forbid a particular practice and may refer the matter to his immediate supervisor. The observation continues to be considered at higher levels until it comes to the attention of the Minister responsible for the subject matter under consideration.

Should the Minister see the need for legislative action he puts the proposal to the Cabinet for its approval, together with a request that the Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs be directed to draft the legislation. When the proposal is accepted by the Cabinet, the Attorney General is directed to draft the legislation.

Drafting of Laws

Two departments, both falling under the aegis of the Office of the Attorney General and the Ministry of Legal Affairs are responsible for the drafting of Public Bills. These are:

  1. the Office of The Chief Parliamentary Counsel or Legislative Drafting Department which is responsible:
    1. for the drafting of original legislation, that is, written law relating to an area of activity not already covered by existing written law; and
    2. for amendments to existing written laws.
  2. the Law Commission, the function of which is to keep all law applicable to Trinidad and Tobago under review by inviting suggestions from the public, with a view of development and reform. This includes modification of any branch of law, and the repeal of outdated laws.

In order to ensure that a Bill when enacted is legally sound and functional, before the drafting is commenced, Parliamentary Counsel undertake a detailed study of a number of factors including:

  1. the circumstances which gave rise to need for the legislation; and
  2. the state of the existing law on the particular subject to determine whether there is a real need for additional legislation.

While the Bill is being drafted, consultation is done with the various personnel for the Ministry at whose request the Bill is being prepared.

When the draft Bill meets with the satisfaction of that Ministry, the approval of the Cabinet must be sought before it is sent to the House of Representatives or the Senate.

Generally, for a Bill to become law it must be passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate, and it must receive the assent of the President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.

The Form of a Bill

The major elements of a bill are described below:

Long title

Every bill begins with a long title which sets out the purpose(s) of the bill or which provides a brief description of its scope.

Preamble

The preamble states the reasons why the enactment proposed is desirable, or else it states the objects of the legislation. Not used often.

Enacting formula

This is the short paragraph which precedes the clauses of a bill. It is worded as follows:

“BE IT ENACTED by the Parliament of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago as follows:“.

Short title

The short title is the name by which a bill is to be commonly known.

The short title of the bill is taken from clause 1, where the short title of the Act is specified, e.g.: “This Act may be cited as the Bail Act, 1994.“. A bill to amend an Act has the word “Amendment” in its short title, e.g., The Trinidad and Tobago Free Zones (Amendment) Bill, 1995.

Commencement provision

Usually to be found in clause 2, the commencement provision specifies when the Act is to come into effect. This may be the date of assent by the President, a date to be fixed by proclamation, a particular nominated date or some combination of these to provide for different sections or parts to come into effect at different times.

Definitions

A definition or interpretation clause, usually clause 3, sets out the meanings of certain words and expressions as they are to be understood in that bill. Definitions can also appear elsewhere in the bill.

Clauses

The substantive provisions of the bill are contained in the remaining clauses. Clauses may be divided into subclauses, subclauses into paragraphs and paragraphs into sub-paragraphs. Once a bill has become an Act, the clauses become known as sections, and subclauses as subsections.

Parts, divisions

A bill (or Act) as a whole may be divided into broad subject groupings known as parts. Each part can be divided into divisions and each division into subdivisions. Each part or division usually contains a number of clauses.

Schedule

Matters of detail may be appended to a bill in the form of a schedule (e.g., a table of Acts to be repealed, an agreement or convention, a form of words for a document, the wording of an oath or affirmation, a plan, minor amendments of a technical nature, etc.).

Explanatory Note
Bills introduced in the Parliament are accompanied by an explanatory note located at the beginning of the Bill. These notes form no part of the Bill but are intended only to indicate its general purport.

Powers of the Houses in respect of Bills

The two Houses of Parliament have equal powers in respect of all proposed laws (or bills), with the exception of certain financial measures. These are specified in sections 63, 64 and 65 of the Constitution of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.

Section 63 provides that proposed laws which appropriate revenue or moneys or impose taxation (commonly referred to as “money” bills) shall not originate in the Senate. This reflects the “financial initiative of the Government”-the principle that only the Government may initiate or move to increase appropriations or taxes.

Control of expenditure is Parliament’s greatest power and both Houses are equally involved in the granting of funds to the Government. However, as the Government is based on the House of Representatives, it is the prerogative of that House to initiate taxing and appropriation bills.

Section 63 also provides that except on the recommendation or with the consent of the Cabinet neither House shall-

  1. proceed upon any bill, including any amendment to a bill, which, in the opinion of the person presiding, makes provision for any of the following purposes:
    1. for imposing or increasing any tax;
    2. for imposing or increasing any charge on the revenues or other funds of Trinidad and Tobago or for altering any such charge otherwise than by reducing it; or
    3. for compounding or remitting any debt due to Trinidad and Tobago;
  2. proceed upon any motion, including any amendment to a motion, the effect of which, in the opinion of the person presiding, would be to make provision for any of the purposes aforesaid, or
  3. receive any petition which, in the opinion of the person presiding, requests that provision be made for any of the purposes aforesaid.

Although the Senate cannot initiate “money’ bills, it can amend “money” bills. Apart from the specific constitutional limitations of sections 63, 64 and 65, the Senate has equal powers to introduce or amend any proposed law.

The Stages of a Bill

Within each House there are steps, or stages through which a bill must pass. These are: first reading, second reading, committee of the whole, report from committee of the whole, third reading.

The standing orders (or rules) of each House provide for bills to be taken through the different stages on different days. The historic purpose of this was to prevent surprise, and to ensure that each bill was considered carefully and without haste. The different stages provide different opportunities to consider a bill-first overall or in principle, then in detail with opportunity for amendments to be made, and, finally, to enable reconsideration and a “last look”.

Today, while a bill still has to pass through each of the stages established by the standing orders, the provisions requiring consideration of the various stages on different days are usually suspended by motion or by leave (i.e., the agreement of the majority of Senators or Members, as the case may be, present in the chamber) in order to eliminate unnecessary delay.

Nevertheless, unless the bill is urgent, it is still the case that usually several sitting days will intervene between the motion for the second reading and the vote on the second reading, to provide time to consider the bill.

As the majority of bills are government bills introduced in the House of Representatives, we will follow the steps such a bill goes through in the process of becoming an Act. If a bill is introduced in the Senate, then it would proceed through the various Senate stages before being read a first time in the House of Representatives.

Government Bills (except “money” Bills) may also be introduced first in the Senate. Such Bills proceed through their Senate stages before consideration in the House of Representatives.

Private Bills can also be introduced in either House and proceed through the same stages in both Houses as Government Bills. Private Bills for incorporation of bodies/organisations by Acts of Parliament are required by Standing Order to be referred to a Special Select Committee of the House in which it was introduced after the second reading.

Introduction/ First Reading of Bill

Subject to certain conditions as outlined in the Standing Orders, any Member of the House may seek leave to introduce a Bill of which he has given notice. In the case of a Government Bill, The Cabinet (Executive Government) approves draft legislation and its introduction into Parliament.

Notice of the Introduction of a Bill on behalf of Government, that is the Cabinet decision to introduce a particular piece of Legislation is conveyed to the Clerk of the House by means of a Cabinet Minute and may be entered on the Order Paper for the day following the day which it was received.

In practice, the Chief Parliamentary Counsel or Law Commission (Departments of the Office of the Attorney General) will forward copies of the Bill to Parliament and if it is not expressly stated in the Cabinet Minute, the Leader of the House will indicate when and in which House the Bill is to be introduced.

The Bill will be referred to by its “Short Title” and placed on the Order Paper of the particular House under the Heading “Introduction of Bills” with the name of the Minister in Charge of the Bill written beneath it-

e.g. The Appropriation Bill, 1995
(By the Minister of Finance)

A copy of the Bill is circulated to Members together with the Order Paper so that they can familiarize themselves with the proposed Legislation. The Clerk is responsible for having Bills published in the Trinidad and Tobago Gazette as soon as possible. The Gazetted copy of the Bill is also circulated to Members.

The First reading is a purely formal procedure. The Clerk simply reads the name of the Bill and the Minister in Charge when the item is called. Bills are made available to the public after this stage.

In the House, an interval of not less than five days must elapse between the first and second reading of a Bill, whereas in the Senate an interval of not less than fifteen days unless the House or Senate, on motion made and question put, agrees to proceed with the Bill at an earlier date or forthwith.

In the normal course of things, the Bill will be listed on the subsequent Order Paper under the Heading “Bills Second Reading” under the Item-“Public Business, Government Business” if it is a Government Bill or under “Private Business” if it is a Private Member’s Bill or a Bill seeking incorporation for an organization.

With increasing regularity, sporting bodies, charitable organizations and various churches have been seeking incorporation by Acts of Parliament. This is done by way of a petition presented by a member of the House on their behalf to introduce a Private Bill for the incorporation of the particular organization. This is different from a Private Member’s Bill.

In our Parliament, it has not been the practice for Members of either House to seek leave to introduce Private Bills. This has been so for many reasons, but mainly because of the limited number of sitting days in a Session and the fact that “Private Members Day” is only once a month in either House. In addition, in recent Parliaments the Government Legislative Agenda has been very heavy and some Private Members Days, have by agreement, been utilized to debate Government Matters.

Nevertheless, history was made in the 1994-1995 Session of the Fourth Parliament when Senator Diana Mahabir-Wyatt successfully sought leave to introduce a Private Bill entitled “The Household Survey and Counting Unremunerated Work Bill, 1995”. This Bill was passed in the Senate but lapsed upon dissolution of Parliament with effect from October 6, 1995. It was reintroduced and passed later that year.

Second Reading

The motion for the second reading is usually moved by the Minister in Charge of the Bill. In support of the Motion, the Minister makes a speech in which the principles and purposes of the Bill are outlined. The Minister may speak for a maximum period of seventy-five (75) minutes in the House and sixty (60) minutes in the Senate. At the end of the Minister’s presentation, the Presiding Officer will propose the question for debate

At this stage, members wishing to express their views on the draft legislation will get an opportunity to do so. But fast, the member must “catch the eye” of the Presiding Officer immediately after another member has concluded his contribution. This is usually done by a show of the hand by a member wishing to speak. Each person is allotted a maximum of forty-five minutes and a possible extension of thirty minutes to make their contribution. Extensions are granted by leave of the House on motion made by a member.

The debate on a Bill may go on over a week or even longer, depending on the number of members wishing to speak and the frequency of Sittings. During the debate, amendments may be proposed and circulated to other members.

At the end of the debate, the Minister who originally piloted the Bill replies. In his reply, he deals with all the comments made or objections raised and seeks to convince members to vote for the Bill.

The Presiding Officer then “puts the question” that the Bill be read a second time by saying “those in favour say ‘aye’. Those against say ‘noe’.” If the majority says “aye”, the Presiding Officer will then say “the ayes have it”. At this juncture, any member can call for a “division”. Once a division is called, a vote must be taken to determine how many have voted for or against. If the House approves the second reading of the Bill, the Clerk then reads the “Long title” of the Bill.

At this stage, a Bill may be referred for consideration to a Select Committee or a Joint Select Committee by motion made immediately after the second reading.

When a Bill has been referred to a Select Committee, no further proceeding shall be taken until the Select Committee has reported. When a Bill has been reported from a Select Committee a motion has to be made for the report to be adopted and a debate can take place or if the motion is agreed to without amendment, the House may proceed to the third reading of the Bill as reported.

Normally however, when the Bill has been read a second time, the Minister responsible will move that the House resolve itself into a Committee of the whole House to consider the Bill “clause by clause”. Here the members of the House become a Committee which examines the Bill more closely. The Presiding Officer takes up a position at a lower table on the right of the Clerk and is called “Chairman” when so seated. The individual clauses of the Bill are examined and suggested amendments to each clause are discussed and either accepted or rejected at this stage.

The Chairman, will then put the question that the bill (as amended) be reported to the House. Once this question is agreed to, the Committee’s deliberation is reported to the Presiding Officer (who has meantime will have resumed his seat) by the Minister responsible.

Report from Committee of the Whole

On the resumption of the House, the Minister in Charge of the Bill shall report to the House that the Bill was considered in Committee and passed with or without amendment(s). The Minister will then move that the Bill be read a third time and passed.

If any Member desires to delete or amend any provision contained in the Bill as reported from a Committee of the whole House, he may at any time before the Minister rises to move the third reading, move that the Bill be either wholly or in respect of only some particular part or parts be recommitted to the Committee of the whole House. No notice of such motion is required.

Reference of Bills to Select Committee

In either House, a bill may be referred to a Special Select Committee of the particular House or to a Joint Select Committee of both Houses for detailed inquiry away from the floor of the Chamber. Further consideration of the bill is postponed until the Committee has reported.

The reference of a bill to a Select Committee is usually moved after the bill has been read a second time and before it is considered by a Committee of the whole House.

The purpose of such inquiry is to enable a small group of Parliamentarians to give more detailed consideration on a bill or certain aspects of it than is possible on the floor of the Chamber. A committee is usually given specific terms of reference, and has the power to summon witnesses and obtain evidence from the public, interested persons and relevant Government Agencies. Once a Committee has reported, its report and the bill is then considered by the House in which the Bill was first introduced. In the case of Joint Select Committees, the report will also be laid in the other House and debated.

Third Reading

When the motion for the third reading of a Bill is made, no amendment(s) may be proposed and the question shall be put without debate. Corrections of errors or oversight may be made by the Presiding Officer before putting the question for the third reading. Any member can call for a division at this stage. The Bill can be rejected by a negative vote.

If a Bill had been referred to a Select Committee of a House or a Joint Select Committee of both Houses, the Minister in Charge of the Bill will move the motion for the third reading only after the report of the Committee has been adopted.

After the motion for the third reading has been agreed to, the Clerk reads the long title of the Bill.

When a Bill has been read a third time and passed in one House, a printed copy of it is signed by the Clerk of that House and endorsed by the Presiding Officer of that House and then transmitted to the other House for its concurrence.

When a Bill originated in one House is read a third time and passed with amendment(s) in the other House, the Clerk of that House shall cause the said amendment(s) made to the Bill to be entered in the original copy of the Bill received and return the Bill with the amendment(s) for the concurrence of that House with respect to the amendment(s).

Special Majority Vote

Some Bills brought to Parliament infringe rights established in the Constitution and must be passed with a special majority. At the end of such a Bill, there is a certificate which clearly states the required majority has been obtained. Section 54 of the Constitution of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago spells out the types of majorities required for laws infringing various sections of the Constitution.

Presidential Assent

A Bill must pass through all these stages in each House of Parliament and any amendment(s) made in one House must be agreed to by the other House before it can be presented to His Excellency for Presidential Assent. Once a Bill has been passed by both Houses, special ASSENT copies are prepared for the signature of the President of the Republic. When the President signs, the Bill becomes an Act. This gives the legislation the status of Law.

Publication and Commencement

Once Presidential Assent has been obtained, it is the duty of the Clerk of the House to have the Act printed and published in the Trinidad and Tobago Gazette. The Gazette notification shows the Act No., the Short Title and the date of Assent.

An Act can come into effect in one of several ways, namely:

  1. Date of Assent;
  2. A date to be fixed by Proclamation;
  3. A particular or specified date or dates, or;
  4. A combination of the above.

If there is no commencement date, the date of Assent is the date the Act becomes law.

Acts of the Republic of Trinidad and in which they are assented to.

Delegated Legislation

The making of Statute Law is a function of Parliament and not the Executive Government (Cabinet). However, Parliament frequently delegates to the Executive Government a limited power of Legislation, namely the power to make regulations.

This is often referred to as delegated or subsidiary legislation and done by means of a provision in an Act empowering the Executive Government (Minister responsible) to make laws in the form of regulations, by-laws, orders and rules for matters prescribed in the Act or which are necessary to give effect to the Act.

All subsidiary legislation has to be tabled in both Houses and must be published in the Trinidad and Tobago Gazette when laid, passed or approved as the case may be.

Terms used in Respect of Documents before Parliament

Reports are LAID.
Bills are INTRODUCED.
Bills when ASSENTED TO become ACTS.
Resolutions are PASSED.
Orders are APPROVED when subject to AFFIRMATIVE Resolution.
Orders are LAID when subject to NEGATIVE Resolution.
Regulations are APPROVED when subject to AFFIRMATIVE Resolution.
Regulations are LAID when subject to NEGATIVE Resolution.
Rules are APPROVED when subject to AFFIRMATIVE Resolution.
Rules are LAID when subject to NEGATIVE Resolution.

Application and Interpretation of Laws

Deciding what the law should be is the Parliament’s responsibility. Deciding how a law applies in a particular case is the function of the courts. Courts also finally determine what a law means. Thus as well as applying the law, the courts interpret the law. Administration and enforcement of the law is the responsibility of the Government.

Everyone who is, or may be, affected by a law may be involved in its interpretation-deciding what it means and how it will affect them: everyone is expected to know the law as it applies to them. However, because there are many laws, and some are complex and use difficult legal expressions, on occasions advice may need to be sought from lawyers, who are trained to interpret the law.

Most important disputes on the meaning, or intent of a law, sooner or later end up in a court of law. The court then makes a decision on the “correct” or intended meaning, and this decision will stand unless subsequently overruled by a higher court or until the Parliament passes an amending law.

Parliament Secretariat

 

Extracted From: Parliament Republic of Trinidad & Tobago

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

Domestic Violence

Q. What is Domestic Violence?

A. Includes any form of abuse whether it be mental, verbal, physical, sexual, financial, emotional or psychological, committed by a person against a spouse, child, and any other person who is a member of the household or dependant.

Q. What is a Protection/Restraining Order?

A. A Protection or Restraining Order is a court document which restrains a person from engaging in abusive behaviour of any type.

Q. Where do you go to apply for a restraining Order?

A. To the Clerk of the Peace of the District Magistrate Court in which you live.

Q. Who can apply for a protection order?

A. A Spouse; a member of the spouse’s household i.e. a child; a dependant; a parent or sibling of either the spouse or respondent of that sibling or parent who is not a member of the household; a person who has a child in common with the respondent; a person who is or has been in a visiting relationship with a person of the opposite sex for a period exceeding twelve months; a police officer, a probation officer or approved social worker on behalf of an alleged victim.

Q. What is the procedure to obtain a protection order?

A. The procedure to obtain a protection order is listed as follows:
i. The applicant goes to the court’s registry at the respective Magistrate’s court;
ii. The applicant speaks to the Clerk of the Peace, who identifies the problem and determines whether it is a domestic violence matter or a matter for another court;
iii. Applicant pays $3.00 in cash or the value of $3.00 in stamps for filing a domestic violence complaint;
iv. The Clerk of the Peace then prepares the complaint and summons and at the same time fixes the date of hearing within seven days of filing of the application;
v. The applicant is required to sign the complaint;
vi. The applicant takes the summons to be served on respondent to the police or may be served by the applicant or his/her agent;

Q. What information is required when applying for a Protection Order?

A. The parties correct name and address and a specific time of at least six months before filing when the incident/pattern of behavior occurred.

Q. What is the duration of a protection order?

A. A protection order remains in force for any period specified by the court, but such period shall not exceed three years

 

Extracted From:  Judiciary of  the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago

WHAT IS BREACH OF MARRIAGE PROMISE?

Breach of Marriage Promise

A common-law right of action for breaking a commitment to enter into matrimony.

The right of action for breach of a marriage promise has been abolished in a majority of states.

Agreement to Marry

An agreement to marry is different from all other contractual relations. The reason for this is that both its object and the relationship created between the parties are completelydifferent from those of any other contract. In order to recover for breach of promise, the plaintiff must establish that the two parties had a valid existing contract to marry. This can beaccomplished by a showing that both parties had a clear intent for the agreement to be binding.

If the parties to a contract to marry are incapable of creating a valid agreement due to a legal disability, a lawsuit for breach of marriage promise cannot be sustained. Generally, avalid defense to such an action is the infancy of the promisor at the time of the agreement. The infancy of the promisee, however, is not a valid defense. Statutes provide the ages ofinfancy.

An individual who is incapable of making a contract due to incompetence will not be held liable for breach of promise. Similarly, a promise to marry someone who is already married isinvalid, provided the promisee knew this fact. When the plaintiff was unaware that the promisor was already married, however, he or she may recover. Upon the legal termination ofthe marriage by Divorce, Annulment, or death of the former spouse, a defendant who breaches a promise to marry the plaintiff may be held liable.

A breach of contract action cannot be maintained when a marriage would be unlawful due to Incest.

Offer and Acceptance

Fundamental elements to the creation of a marriage contract are an offer and acceptance. It is not necessary that the offer be in formal language. The key requirement is that bothparties comprehend that there was a clearly intended offer of marriage. A statement of the intention to marry to a third person, absent any other indicated intent, is not enough.

An acceptance of an offer to marry must be given within a reasonable period of time. Such acceptance need not be formal but may be implied from the promisee’s behavior. For amarriage contract to be enforceable, there must be a showing that there has been a meeting of the minds of the individuals to the agreement. A promise to marry induced by duressis invalid. Similarly, a promise to marry made by fraudulent inducement—or fraudulent concealment of facts that would prevent the making of the agreement if revealed or disclosed—will render the promise invalid and relieve the innocent party from all liability.

A promise to marry must be based upon legal consideration. Generally, one individual’s promise is adequate consideration for the promise of the other party. A promise to marry mustnot be based solely upon illegal or immoral consideration, such as sexual relations between the parties. A promise based upon legal consideration will not, however, be vitiatedmerely because unlawful sexual intercourse took place between the parties either prior to or following the promise.

If a promise to marry is conditional, liability for its breach will arise only following the performance or occurrence of the agreed condition.

A contract to marry may be manifested by many promises made at different times; however, there is only a single contract, and only a single breach can take place.

A contract to marry can be rescinded either by mutual consent of the parties or in instances of Fraud or duress. The consent to postpone a marriage alone does not constitute arelease of the obligation to perform it.

Breach

Unless there is a legally justifiable reason, an unwillingness to perform one’s promise to marry creates a breach of promise to marry. Mere postponement of the wedding does notconstitute a breach unless it is done arbitrarily and for no good reason. In such case, the postponement can be regarded as equivalent to a refusal to comply with the marital promise.

Defenses

Defenses exist other than the invalidity or termination of the marriage contract and lack of capacity.

The invalidity of the plaintiff’s divorce from a former spouse may be used as a defense only if the issue of the divorce is raised on the ground that there was a lack of jurisdiction onthe part of the court to permit the divorce. If the plaintiff had an invalid divorce, the defendant cannot be held liable for breach of the marriage promise because the plaintiff was stilllawfully married to his or her former mate and, therefore, could not validly contract a marriage with the defendant.

A valid defense to a breach of marriage promise is the plaintiff’s refusal to marry the defendant. The defendant cannot later defend himself or herself on the basis of the fact that heor she subsequently offered to marry the plaintiff. The engagement of the plaintiff to another individual at the time of entering into a contract with the defendant is not a defense.Similarly, the marriage of the plaintiff to another party subsequent to the defendant’s breach does not excuse the defendant of liability for a breach. Unattractive personality traits, oroffensive conduct, such as drunkenness, cannot be used as a defense. When the objectionable behavior amounts to a felony, however, it can be used as a defense against theplaintiff in a breach of marriage promise action.

Generally, a defendant will successfully defeat an action by alleging physical incapacity or disease that makes it either unsafe or improper to enter into marriage. If a defendant hasknowledge of the disability when he or she promises to marry the plaintiff there is no defense. A disability on the part of the defendant that would not interfere with the maritalrelationship is insufficient to relieve a defendant of his promise.

Damages

The nature and form of an action for breach of marriage promise is contractual. Recoverable damages include Compensatory Damages for injury to the feelings and health of theplaintiff as well as to his or her reputation. A plaintiff may also recover damages for any financial loss resulting from the breach, comparable to the recovery in a breach of any othercontract action, in addition to compensation for loss of advantages that would have stemmed from a marital relationship with the defendant.

WHAT IS ALIMONY?

Alimony

Payment that a family court may order one person in a couple to make to the other person when that couple separates or divorces.

The purpose of alimony is to avoid any unfair economic consequences of a Divorce, even after property is divided and Child Support, if any, is awarded. Courts set few specificguidelines to attaining this broad goal: instead of telling judges how and when to award alimony, most courts simply grant them broad discretion to decide what is fair in eachcase.For example, suppose two individuals who married in 1985 agree in 1995 to divorce. At the time of the divorce, the husband earns $63,000 a year, after seven years at a largecompany where the top pay for his specialty is $80,000. When the couple married, he was in graduate school and the wife was earning $22,000. The wife worked for three moreyears, supporting the husband while he completed his coursework and graduated.

When their first child was born, they agreed that the wife would care for the child at home. At the time of divorce, the wife had been working full-time for one year since the couple’schildren, ages seven and six, had entered school. She was earning $23,000 a year and would have custody of the children.

A judge in this case would certainly award child support and would probably divide marital property equally between the couple. But it might not seem fair to the judge to allow thehusband to leave the marriage with the sole possession of the couple’s most valuable asset—his earning potential—when the wife contributed to his education by supporting him.

Unlike the family’s home or station wagon, the husband’s earning power has not yet reached its full value, but it promises to grow. It seems especially unfair for the wife not toreceive a share of it since after helping the husband attain his education she agreed to forfeit her earning power to invest time in the family. The several years she spent out of theworkforce continue to handicap her earnings. Alimony is the only means available to the court to avoid a potentially unjust division of assets.

The judge in this case may award alimony or may award a token amount—such as $1 a year—so that the wife has the option to request an increase later on (modifying an award iseasier than winning one after the divorce). Or the judge may award no alimony; judges are not required to award alimony.

The Husband and Wife in this example are unlikely to find a single solution they both consider equitable. In trying to reach an order that is fair, judges must balance spouses’contributions and sacrifices during the marriage with their needs after the divorce. Although the result may not match both spouses’ ideas of what is fair, one of alimony’s biggestvirtues is its flexibility: it can always be changed.

Alimony can be modified or eliminated as the former spouses’ needs change, if those needs are the result of decisions they made as a married unit. Awards and increases in alimonyare meant to address only needs that are caused by the divorce itself, not unrelated needs. If the wife’s elderly mother becomes ill and dependent on her after the divorce, forexample, the wife’s need increases, but the increase is unrelated to the divorce and will not increase her eligibility for alimony. However, a significant change in circumstances—suchas a rise in the recipient’s income or a drop in the payer’s income—can cause the court to reduce or end alimony. Occasionally, courts increase alimony to keep up with inflation.

Many courts have indicated that situations such as maltreatment are not valid triggers for alimony. Courts have clarified that allegations of physical or other harm done by onespouse must be brought in a civil lawsuit, to be heard and decided by a jury. In successful cases, compensatory and Punitive Damages would be awarded, not alimony.

Even in less egregious cases, alimony is not awarded as a punishment, especially in states that have adopted no-fault divorce laws—that is, laws providing that neither spouse hasto prove wrongdoing on the part of the other.

Gaps in earning power that tend in general to favor men over women create another situation that many courts believe they cannot resolve using alimony. Such gaps are often thereason married couples decide that if it is appropriate for only one spouse to be the wage earner, it should be the husband. But courts do not base individual alimony awards on thistrend alone, in part because an individual spouse cannot be held responsible for social injustices.

In fact, state laws specifying the gender of the paying spouse and of the receiving spouse have been ruled unconstitutional. In deciding Orr v. Orr 440 U.S. 268, 99 S. Ct. 1102, 59 L.Ed. 2d 306 (1979), the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Alabama state law, which specified that husbands may be ordered to pay support to wives, but not vice versa, violated theequal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The case arose when William Orr, who had been ordered to pay alimony, was taken to court by his ex-wife for failure to pay.Orr’s defense included a motion requesting that the Alabama alimony statute be declared unconstitutional. Although Orr was not seeking alimony from his ex-wife, he argued that theaward to her would decrease if his circumstances were considered in addition to hers. The Supreme Court decision supporting Orr meant that gender could not be considered inawarding alimony (although even in the 1990s very few alimony awards are made in favor of men).

Modern underpinnings for alimony have little to do with gender, but this was not always so. The U.S. model of alimony is based on ecclesiastical law (guidelines of the Christianreligion), dating from a time in England’s history when divorce did not exist. Unhappily married couples could live separately, but the husband was still obliged to support the wifefinancially. This arrangement was known as a divorce a mensa et thoro (“from bed and board,” in Latin), and was not really a termination of the marriage. This limited divorce did notallow the parties to remarry, for example, and did not affect inheritance rules. The wife remained her husband’s dependent, and alimony was seen as his ongoing marital obligation toher.

When full divorce became available, the idea of alimony continued, but with some important differences. In the early 2000s, alimony awards were being made based not on men’s andwomen’s roles, but on relative needs arising from decisions made during the marriage. Alimony is not an aspect of marriage, as it was in divorce a mensa et thoro, but only becomesnecessary—and available—from the time of divorce. Because the considerations that enter into a divorce award are sometimes complex, courts usually clarify the award’s purposeand may place a time limit on it.

No mathematical guidelines exist to tell courts how to calculate alimony. In addition, each state legislature sets its own policy regarding whether and when alimony may be awarded.The Uniform Marriage and Divorce Act (UMDA), which many states use as a model, recommends that courts consider the following factors: the financial condition of the personrequesting alimony; the time the recipient would need for education or job training; the standard of living the couple had during the marriage; the length of the marriage; the age,physical condition, and emotional state of the person requesting alimony; and the ability of the other person to support the recipient and still support himself or herself.

Courts have at times awarded alimony when an unmarried couple separates, if the relation-ship closely resembled marriage or in other circumstances, such as in keeping with thecouple’s intentions and verbal agreements. Awards of this type are informally called palimony. Private separation agreements negotiated between divorcing individuals also cancontain alimony provisions. For these reasons, it is difficult to estimate accurately the size and frequency of awards through the most common method, U.S. census data.

If awards are hard to estimate, compliance with awards is nearly impossible to gauge. Alimony enforcement is unlike child support enforcement, which has the “teeth” of wageGarnishment, liens, and other mechanisms. Returning to court with contempt-of-court charges is usually the only option a would-be recipient has to enforce an existing alimonyorder.

If the divorce decree does not specify an ending date, an order to pay alimony usually remains effective until the court that awarded it changes or ends it. Alimony usually ends whenthe recipient remarries; this is known as terminable alimony. In the case of the recipient’s remarriage, the payer sometimes must return to court to have the court change the alimonyorder, but often the termination is automatic.

The payer’s death is not necessarily enough to end payments: some orders allow the recipient to inherit funds from the payer’s estate or require the payer to maintain a life insurancepolicy that will continue to support the recipient after the payer’s death. These provisions, when made, often involve a recipient whose age or health makes it too difficult for therecipient to enter or reenter the workforce.

On September 1, 1995, Texas became the last state in the country to authorize the award of alimony payments in divorce proceedings. TX FAMILY § 8.001. Until then, Texas courtshad ruled that the state constitution prohibited alimony awards because alimony was not marital property existing at the time of the divorce. Instead, Texas courts said that alimonyawards necessarily involved calculations based solely on the future, post-divorce earnings of the ex-spouse who would be making the alimony payments.

Texas courts also observed that spouses who sacrificed educational or career opportunities during the marriage to raise children so their spouses could pursue educational or careeropportunities of their own could be adequately compensated for their sacrifice by receiving a larger share of the marital property than spouses who had not made such a sacrifice. Inother words, Texas courts believed that since they had the power to give one spouse a larger share of the marital property to compensate for any career or educational sacrifices thatspouse made during the marriage, there was no need to award alimony too. Courts also questioned why ex-spouses should be under any obligation to support each other afterdivorce, when the whole purpose of divorce is to end the costs and benefits of marriage.

But judges, lawyers, and scholars increasingly criticized the Texas statutory scheme as being unrealistic. For example, before 1995 Texas courts routinely ordered ex-spouses topay child support from their so-called post-divorce “future earnings,” and these orders survived scrutiny under the state constitution. Critics of Texas law saw no reason why statecourts could not order ex-spouses to also pay alimony out of wages and salary they earned after the marriage terminated.

Additionally, critics assailed the absence of alimony provisions in Texas Family Law as being unduly harsh. In a large number of divorces where neither spouse had acquiredsubstantial assets during the marriage, Texas courts were powerless to compensate spouses who had sacrificed educational and career opportunities, since in such situations therewere essentially no assets to divide in the first place. As a result, spouses who successfully pursued educational or career opportunities at the expense of their partner were allowedto walk away from the marriage “scot-free.”

Despite the late twentieth-century universality of alimony laws in the all 50 states, lawmakers in some jurisdictions continued to propose legislation that would abolish it. In 1999several Iowa legislators proposed a bill to abolish alimony, arguing that alimony laws provide incentive to get divorced. The bill never passed.

Since alimony is an award for support and maintenance that one spouse may be compelled to pay to another after dissolution of the marriage, it would seem to follow that no alimonycould be awarded to a spouse following an Annulment, which treats the marriage relationship as if it had never existed. In fact, alimony is not awarded to spouses under anyconditions following the annulment of a marriage in most jurisdictions. However, in some jurisdictions the enforcement of a flat prohibition of alimony awards to spouses whosemarriages have been annulled has sometimes been found to impose unnecessary hardship on a spouse, usually the wife, especially where the parties have lived together for aconsiderable period of time. Consequently, judicial and legislative exceptions have been created to the basic rule of treating an annulled marriage as if it had never existed, for thepurposes of determining whether an alimony award is appropriate. Under these exceptions, temporary as well as permanent alimony have been awarded.

LIBEL & SLANDER

What is Libel & Slander?

Libel and Slander

Two torts that involve the communication of false information about a person, a group, or an entity such as a corporation. Libel is any Defamation that can be seen, such as a writing, printing, effigy, movie, or statue. Slander is any defamation that is spoken and heard.
Collectively known as defamation, libel and slander are civil wrongs that harm a reputation; decrease respect, regard, or confidence; or induce disparaging, hostile, or disagreeable opinions or feelings against an individual or entity. The injury to one’s good name or reputation is affected through written or spoken words or visual images. The laws governing these torts are identical.
To recover in a libel or slander suit, the plaintiff must show evidence of four elements: that the defendant conveyed a defamatory message; that the material was published, meaning that it was conveyed to someone other than the plaintiff; that the plaintiff could be identified as the person referred to in the defamatory material; and that the plaintiff suffered some injury to his or her reputation as a result of the communication.
To prove that the material was defamatory, the plaintiff must show that at least one other person who saw or heard it understood it as having defamatory meaning. It is necessary to show not that all who heard or read the statement understood it to be defamatory, but only that one person other than the plaintiff did so. Therefore, even if the defendant contends that the communication was a joke, if one person other than the plaintiff took it seriously, the communication is considered defamatory.
Defamatory matter is published when it is communicated to someone other than the plaintiff. This can be done in several different ways. The defendant might loudly accuse the plaintiff of something in a public place where others are present, or make defamatory statements about the plaintiff in a newsletter or an on-line bulletin board. The defamation need not be printed or distributed. However, if the defendant does not intend it to be conveyed to anyone other than the plaintiff, and conveys it in a manner that ordinarily would prevent others from seeing or hearing it, the requirement of publication has not been satisfied even if a third party inadvertently overhears or witnesses the communication.Liability for republication of a defamatory statement is the same as for original publication, provided that the defendant had knowledge of the contents of the statement. Thus, newspapers, magazines, and broadcasters are liable for republication of libel or slander because they have editorial control over their communications. On the other hand, bookstores, libraries, and other distributors of material are liable for republication only if they know, or had reason to know, that the statement is defamatory. Common carriers such as telephone companies are not liable for defamatory material that they convey, even if they know that it is defamatory, unless they know, or have reason to know, that the sender does not have a privilege to communicate the material. Suppliers of communications equipment are never liable for defamatory material that is transmitted through the equipment they provide.
In general, there are four defenses to libel or slander: truth, consent, accident, and privilege. The fact that the allegedly defamatory communication is essentially true is usually an absolute defense; the defendant need not verify every detail of the communication, as long as its substance can be established. If the plaintiff consented to publication of the defamatory material, recovery is barred. Accidental publication of a defamatory statement does not constitute publication. Privilege confers Immunity on a small number of defendants who are directly involved in the furtherance of the public’s business—for example, attorneys, judges, jurors, and witnesses whose statements are protected on public policy grounds.
Before 1964, defamation law was determined on a state-by-state basis, with courts applying the local Common Law. Questions of Freedom of Speech were generally found to be irrelevant to libel or slander cases, and defendants were held to be strictly liable even if they had no idea that the communication was false or defamatory, or if they had exercised reasonable caution in ascertaining its truthfulness. This deference to state protection of personal reputation was confirmed in Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire, 315 U.S. 568, 62 S. Ct. 766, 86 L. Ed. 1031 (1942), in which the U.S. Supreme Court stated, “There are certain well-defined and narrowly limited classes of speech, the prevention and punishment of which have never been thought to raise constitutional problems.” The Court in Chaplinsky held that defamatory speech is not essential to the exposition of ideas and that it can be regulated without raising constitutional concerns. This reasoning was confirmed in Beauharnais v. Illinois, 343 U.S. 250, 72 S. Ct. 725, 96 L. Ed. 919 (1952), where the Court again held that libelous speech is not protected by the Constitution.
In 1964, the Court changed the direction of libel law dramatically with its decision in new york times v. sullivan, 376 U.S. 254, 84 S. Ct. 710, 11 L. Ed. 2d 686 (1964). For the first time, the Court placed some libelous speech under the protection of the First Amendment. The plaintiff, a police official, had claimed that false allegations about him were published in the New York Times, and he sued the newspaper for libel. The Court balanced the plaintiff’s interest in preserving his reputation against the public’s interest in freedom of expression in the area of political debate. The Court wrote that “libel can claim no talismanic immunity from constitutional limitations. It must be measured by standards that satisfy the First Amendment.” Therefore, in order to protect the free flow of ideas in the political arena, the law requires that a public official who alleges libel must prove actual malice in order to recover damages. The First Amendment protects open and robust debate on public issues even when such debate includes “vehement, caustic, unpleasantly sharp attacks on government and public officials.”
Since Sullivan, a public official or other person who has voluntarily assumed a position in the public eye must prove that a libelous statement “was made with ‘actual malice’—that is, with knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard to whether it was false or not” (Sullivan). The actual-malice standard does not require any ill will on the part of the defendant. Rather, it merely requires the defendant to be aware that the statement is false or very likely false. Reckless disregard is present if the plaintiff can show that the defendant had “serious doubts as to the truth of [the] publication” (see St. Amant v. Thompson, 390 U.S. 727, 88 S. Ct. 1323, 20 L. Ed. 2d 262 [1968]).
Also since Sullivan, the question of who is a public official has been raised often. In Rosenblatt v. Baer, 383 U.S. 75, 86 S. Ct. 669, 15 L. Ed. 2d 597 (1966), the Court found that a nonelected official “among the hierarchy of government employees who have, or appear to have, substantial responsibility for, or control over, the conduct of public affairs” was a public official within the meaning of Sullivan. Similarly, in Monitor Patriot Co. v. Roy, 401 U.S. 265, 91 S. Ct. 621, 28 L. Ed. 2d 35 (1971), the Court found that a candidate for public office fell within the category of public officials who must prove actual malice in order to recover.
Eventually, Sullivan’s actual-malice requirement was extended to include defendants who are accused of defaming public figures who are not government officials. In the companion cases of Curtis Publishing Co. v. Butts and Associated Press v. Walker, 388 U.S. 130, 87 S. Ct. 1975, 18 L. Ed. 2d 1094 (1967), the Court held that a football coach at the University of Georgia and a retired Army general were similar to public officials in that they enjoyed a high degree of prominence and access to the mass media that allowed them to influence policy and to counter criticisms leveled against them.
These rules make it difficult for a plaintiff to prevail in a libel action. For example, in Levan v. Capitol Cities/ABC, 190 F.3d 1230 (11th Cir. 1999), a federal appeals court dismissed a libel action against a television network because the plaintiff could not prove actual malice. BFC Financial Corporation (“BFC”) and its president, chief executive officer, and controlling shareholder, Alan Levan, brought an action for defamation against Capital Cities/ABC, Inc. (“ABC”) and one of its producers, Bill Willson. Levan and BFC based their case on a segment that had been aired on ABC’s television program “20/20.” The segment portrayed BFC and Levan as unfairly taking advantage of investors in real estate-related limited partnerships, by inducing them to participate in transactions known as “rollups.” BFC and Levan claimed that ABC had made numerous false or misleading statements with actual malice and that it had misused videotaped statements and congressional testimony.

RISE AND SHINE

Martin George  Attorney at law (Martin A George & Co) & Member of  Police Service Commission on Rise & Shine , channel 5 Tobago.

Here are the Topics that Mr. Martin George speaks on:

1. Law enforcers(police) using their power to abuse.

2. ACP Reyes Misbehaving on CAL flight to Tobago.

3. SRP mistreating a disabled man.

 

 

BETTER POLICE LEADERSHIP NEEDED

Last Updated on 24.03.2015
Published Date

Attorney at Law Martin George has called for effective leadership in the Police Service following Monday’s ‘day of policing’ which led to massive traffic gridlocks throughout both islands.

Mr. George said while the police action caused “tremendous inconvenience,” the officers have issues they have been negotiating for, for some time, but this should not have impacted citizens in the way it did.

He said while it may not have necessarily been the best way to approach their problem, the action showed deficiencies in leadership in the Police Service.

“We the ordinary citizen, we are not the ones who have stalled their negotiations. We are not the ones who have them in this position, so why are you punishing us? What do we have to do with that? It’s really unfair in that sense but at the end of the day, I still think that the top of the Police Service, I think we have the Acting, Acting Commissioner, which is Mrs. Daly, I think maybe this was an opportunity for her to step forth and show that type of leadership from in front and say: ‘Hey, listen, I am on top of this, I am going to do A, B and C and I will alleviate the concerns of the public. I will ensure that people’s lives, work, their jobs, are not disrupted unduly.'”

The Attorney said the roadblocks and stop and search exercises would have been authorised by someone in authority. He is calling for answers.

“Is it that all the respective Divisional Heads authorised this independently and it just so coincided that they all chose the same day and same time to have these exercises? Do these Divisional Heads report to anyone above? Of course, they do. So is it that they did so without notifying the very Head of the Police Service that ‘look, we are doing this coordinated activity and it is going to take place at the same time all around the country’ and therefore obviously you must know what is the likely effect.”

 Written by C News

FAMILY TO SEEK RELEASE OF SUSPECT

 

Tobago credit union murder
Published:
Monday, December 29, 2014
Kasey Bruce and his daughter Kyesha.

Relatives of a man held for questioning by Tobago Division police in connection with the robbery and murder of THAWE Credit Union courier Sylvert Edwards have expressed concern about the fact that he has been held without charge since December 18.

Joy Bruce-Petty told the T&T Guardian her son Kasey Bruce, the sole breadwinner for the family, has been in custody for ten days. She said officers her son was picked up at 5 am on December 18 during a police search of her home. Since then, she said, they have not been able to get any information from the police. “Today is ten days. They wouldn’t even give me no information. Every time I call the station is different investigating officers,” Bruce-Petty said.

She said her son, the father of two girls ages one and seven years old, has been employed with the Division of Infrastructure and Public Utilities’ Development Section as a carpenter’s assistant for the past 11 years. Concerns have also been raised by Bruce’s attorney, Martin George, who said the officers acted unlawfully when they held his client for more than 72 hours.

“The law requires that if you do not have the evidence you must release the citizen after a reasonable time. The reasonable time is estimated to be within the vicinity of 48 hours to 72 hours. Beyond that you are clearly in breach of the law, so when the police act in such a manner so that they themselves are breaking the law, breaching the law with impunity, how can citizens ever build up any trust or faith in the police? This is just absolutely unbelievable” George said.

George said a writ will be filed on today and the family will be seeking damages. “I had discussions yesterday with very senior executives in the police service. I was given the assurance as the attorney for Mr. Bruce that he would either be charged or released today (Saturday). I understand that today they are still fishing about. They still have nothing concrete or tangible upon which to charge him and they are just really abusing their powers as police officers.

“I have spoken with his family and relatives and on Monday we are going to be filing a writ of habeas corpus for his release and we will be seeking damages and compensation for the illegal and unlawful detention of this citizen” A police source told the T&T Guardian the laying of charges was delayed by  the Christmas holidays. However, a file has been sent to Director of Public Prosecutions Roger Gaspard.

Extracted From : Trinidad Express Newspaper