I sat on this article for 24 hours before posting it so that the vitriol would fade. Because Lord knows, in a country where the rules only apply to those wealthy enough to enforce or ignore them, I would end up facing a lawsuit for libel.
Here’s the story:
The biggest fraud cases in this country’s history—which saw billions of dollars in taxpayers money allegedly being pumped into the pockets of the United National Congress (UNC) financiers—are expected to be dismissed later this week. The Piarco Airport Development Project scandal has been ongoing for more than ten years and involves several individuals affiliated with the present Government. Two weeks ago, The Administration of Justice (Indictable Proceedings) Act 2011 was proclaimed by President George Maxwell Richards in a move to end preliminary enquiries in the local courts.
Certain parts of the act will come into effect on January 1, 2013. The President’s proclamation was gazetted on August 30. With the act in effect, the Preliminary Enquiry Act has been replaced and nullifies the need for a preliminary enquiry to be held in relation to matters filed indictably.
However, the act bears a controversial clause—Section 34(2), which states: “On an application by the accused, a Judge shall discharge an accused if the proceedings were instituted prior to the coming into force of this Act and the trial has not commenced within seven years after the proceedings were instituted, except (a) in the case of matters listed in Schedule 6; or (b) where the accused has evaded the process of the Court and the trial on indictment has, for that reason, not commenced.”
It is this clause which will see the accused people in the Piarco Airport project having their matters dismissed. Contacted on the matter, Director of Public Prosecutions Roger Gaspard, SC, said he preferred not to comment, since the matter is before the courts. Several people have been charged in relation to the matter. Among those charged with fraudulent activities arising out of the construction of the airport are two ex-ministers from the UNC administration.