Port of Spain – The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) has set January 18 for oral argument in a case in which the government of Trinidad and Tobago faces a trial from a group of British American and CLICO insureds (BACOL) from the Eastern Caribbean regarding his cash-strapped out-of-CL Financial Group bond 12 years ago.
The CCJ heard the case on Wednesday regarding a request for leave from the court to initiate legal action against T&T for alleged discrimination against non-nationals in protecting the funds of certain CL Financial policyholders.
The CCJ will hear the case under its original jurisdiction, allowing the court to function as an international tribunal, applying the rules of international law regarding the interpretation and application of the Treaty of Chaguaramas, which governs the movement. regional integration, CARICOM.
CCJ President Judge Adrian Saunders said T&T would submit comments on or about Nov. 5 “on why special permission should not be granted.”
“If these observations involve questions of fact, which in your opinion make the request for special leave untenable and should be rejected, you mention them in your communication and the other party will respond,” he said. he told senior counsel Deborah Peake, who represents the state of T&T. “You will have a right of reply, and on January 18, we will have an oral hearing on the matter.
“The State of T&T will file a written submission on or about November 5, appellants will file their response to these written submissions on December 3. T&T will have until December 17 to file its response and there will be an oral hearing on January 18. . “
Judge Saunders said he hopes oral argument will be concluded within a day.
In their application, the appellants argue that the T&T government’s bailout plan to protect the funds of policyholders in the local conglomerate discriminated against policyholders on the basis of nationality.
They also argue that the government violated certain articles of the revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, where CARICOM countries agree not to allow discrimination based on nationality, among others.
But the government is resisting the leave application with Peake asking for additional time to file factual evidence, respond and then comment on the objection.
She said the government had not seen the April 2019 pre-action protocol letter sent by policyholders in the Eastern Caribbean and needed “a fair opportunity to respond” because “we are dealing with hundreds of millions of dollars ”.
The regional shareholders are represented by a team of British and Caribbean lawyers including Simon Davenport, QC, and former Prime Minister of Saint Lucia, Dr Kenny Anthony.
Davenport told the court that there had been several communications in two years and that Port of Spain “had two and a half years to consider its position.”
The appellants also argue that the collapse of the Trinidad conglomerate had a catastrophic and widespread effect on the eastern Caribbean.