A man from Care­nage has filed a law­suit chal­leng­ing the pro­hi­bi­tion of the im­por­ta­tion of cam­ou­flage cloth­ing and ma­te­r­i­al. 

In the law­suit, filed late last month, lawyers rep­re­sent­ing Isi­ah Pierre, of Bread Street, Care­nage, are claim­ing that Le­gal No­tice 33 of 1984, which pro­hibits the im­por­ta­tion of “cam­ou­flage pat­tern ma­te­r­i­al”, is un­con­sti­tu­tion­al and il­le­gal. 

Ac­cord­ing to his fixed date claim form, ob­tained by Guardian Me­dia, Pierre’s lawyers are con­tend­ing that then-Pres­i­dent El­lis Clarke should not have been em­pow­ered to en­act the no­tice as such a process, as de­fined by Sec­tion 44 of the Cus­toms Act, should be with­in the re­mit of Par­lia­ment. 

“The Pres­i­dent, on his own, can­not by procla­ma­tion and/or oth­er means crim­i­nalise the con­duct of cit­i­zens with­out the ap­proval of the de­mo­c­ra­t­i­cal­ly elect­ed Par­lia­ment,” the doc­u­ment stat­ed. 

Pierre’s lawyers al­so claimed the le­gal no­tice was too broad and sweep­ing in its ef­fect as even cam­ou­flage pat­terns not used by the T&T De­fence Force on items such as women’s high heeled boots are al­so pro­hib­it­ed.

“Based on the word­ing of Le­gal No­tice 33, a cit­i­zen can­not pre­dict and/or un­der­stand and/or have fair no­tice of what con­duct could lead to sanc­tions un­der the law giv­en the vague and/or un­cer­tain am­bit of Le­gal No­tice 33,” it stat­ed. 

Pierre is seek­ing a se­ries of de­c­la­ra­tions against the no­tice as well as fi­nan­cial com­pen­sa­tion for be­ing pros­e­cut­ed un­der it. 

In his af­fi­davit at­tached to the case, Pierre claimed he sur­ren­dered to po­lice on March 21, 2018, af­ter learn­ing that they were look­ing for him for an un­spec­i­fied of­fence. Pierre, who at the time lived with his grand­moth­er in Pe­tit Val­ley, claimed he was tak­en to his moth­er’s home in Diego Mar­tin where po­lice ex­e­cut­ed a search war­rant for arms and am­mu­ni­tion. 

While search­ing his broth­er’s bed­room, po­lice of­fi­cers found two cam­ou­flage pants in a cup­board. Al­though Pierre de­nied own­er­ship, he was still charged un­der the Cus­toms Act for im­port­ing the items. 

The max­i­mum penal­ty for the of­fence is an eight-year prison sen­tence and a $50,000 fine or three times the val­ue of the goods, whichev­er is greater. 

Pierre al­so com­plained that the le­gal no­tice, which pro­hibits all cam­ou­flage and not just those close­ly re­sem­bling T&T De­fence Force uni­forms, is very wide and un­spe­cif­ic. 

“I am not aware of the De­fence Force uti­liz­ing any colours oth­er than green/brown cam­ou­flage, in par­tic­u­lar, I have nev­er seen pink, yel­low, blue, or­ange or red cam­ou­flage used by the De­fence Force,” Pierre said. 

Pierre’s law­suit has been as­signed to Jus­tice Kevin Ram­cha­ran, who is ex­pect­ed to host the first case man­age­ment hear­ing of the case on April 6. 

Pierre is be­ing rep­re­sent­ed by Jagdeo Singh, Kiel Tak­lals­ingh, Ka­ri­na Singh, and Chelsea John.

Reporter: Derek Achong