by Derek Achong (Trinidad Guardian) The Privy Council has struck down a move by the Government to extend the term of local government representatives by a year.
Delivering a ruling at the United Kingdom Supreme Court Building in London, England, yesterday, the Privy Council upheld an appeal over the dismissal of a lawsuit alleging the move was unlawful, brought by political activist Ravi Balgobin Maharaj.
In a majority decision, three law lords, led by UK Supreme Court President Lord Robert Reed, ruled that High Court Judge Jacqueline Wilson and the Court of Appeal got it wrong when they dismissed Maharaj’s case.
Two law lords agreed with the local courts’ reasoning and provided a dissenting judgment.
The outcome effectively means local government elections now have to be called.
Those in the majority ruled that change in the term of representatives as contained in the Miscellaneous Provisions (Local Government Reform) Act, which was passed by Parliament without the support of the Opposition last year, could not apply to representatives elected for a three-year term in 2019.
They said the Parliament should have used clear and unambiguous language to indicate if that was its intent, but it did not do so.