Court orders Imbert to release documents to Jwala
Finance Minister Colm Imbert speaks at a media conference May 17, 2019.
Finance Minister Colm Imbert has been given seven days to provide to former Central Bank Governor Jwala Rambarran correspondence allegedly sent to the Intergovernmental Group of Twenty-Four on International Monetary Affairs and Development (the G-24) regarding his 2016 appointment as Senior Economic Advisor with the organisation.
In a ruling by Justice Frank Seepersad in the San Fernando High Court on Thursday morning, Imbert's decision to refuse access to the requested information was quashed, ordering him to produce the documents within a week's time.
Justice Seepersad declared that Imbert’s decision to block access to the information breached the FOIA and was not in keeping with the public’s interest.
"The court formed the view that the said statements and the sequence of events which unfolded in relation to the Claimant’s tenure as the Central Bank Governor and the subsequent termination of his appointment, collectively has the potential to lead a reasonable person to conclude that the Defendant may have had an entrenched bias against the Claimant," the judgement read.
Commenting on the court ruling, Rambarran said Thursday's ruling is the latest in a series of FOIA victories against the PNM Government, starting with Devant Maharaj v Port Authority, Ravi Balgobin Maharaj v Petrotrin and Devant Maharaj v NEC (Privy Council Judgment).
"This judgment is a victory for all public office holders who have suffered the brunt of the PNM’s political bias, victimisation and oppression. I know that I am not alone in this regard," he said.
Rambarran claims he has been "subjected to the worst form of malicious political spite and victimisation", as he said he has been unsuccessful in his efforts to gain employment owing to political interference from Government.
The former Central Bank Governor, who was fired on December 23, 2015, has vowed to continue his legal efforts to vindicate his character and reputation.
He thanked his lawyers Anand Ramlogan, Gerald Ramdeen, and Douglas Bayley "for their hard work and dedication without which this victory would not be possible".