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NOEL GARCIA

Urban Development Corporation of T&T (Udecott) chairman Noel Garcia will learn the fate of his lawsuit, challenging the findings of the Commission of Enquiry into the Las Alturas Housing Development in Morvant on Friday

High Court Judge Kevin Ramcharan was scheduled to deliver his judgment in the case yesterday but his staff informed the parties that the case was rescheduled to later this week.

Ramcharan’s decision in the case will come exactly a week after High Court Judge David Harris dismissed a similar but separate case brought by former Udecott executive chairman Calder Hart.

In the judgment, Harris ruled that Hart could not complain over his lack of participation before the commission, through its failure to issue him a salmon letter.

Harris agreed with the commission’s legal team that such documents, which inform witnesses before a commission that they may be subject to criticism in its final report, are only issued before they testify.

He noted that Hart expressed no interest in doing so during the commission’s televised hearings which spanned 18 months.

Harris also rejected Hart’s claim that the commission failed to consider pertinent documents in Udecott’s possession, as he accepted the commission’s claimed that it utilised what all that was requested and disclosed to it.

“The creeping adversity as it were, in relation to the claimant as the 25 witnesses testifed publically one after the other over many months was such, in this court’s view, ought to have excited the Claimant’s commitment to participate if he so desired, notwithstanding the absence of some documents,” Harris said.

He also ruled that the commission did not make significant objectionable findings.

“There is no evidence from the Claimant or otherwise discernable that points to any evidence before the Commission which suggests that the Commission could have possibly come to another reasonable conclusion other than which it did,” Harris said.

The commission of enquiry, led by Retired Justice of Appeal Mustapha Ibrahim (now deceased), was set up to investigate the construction of the Las Alturas Towers at Lady Young Gardens, Morvant.

Former prime minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and then attorney general Anand Ramlogan, SC, appointed the commission after two of the multi-storey units of the housing project began falling apart after construction and were earmarked for demolition.

In the commission’s report, presented in September 2016, it stated that while there were no grounds for criminal proceedings to be brought against anyone, civil action could be taken against Hart, Garcia (who served as Housing Development Corporation (HDC) managing director at the time), Udecott and the HDC for negligence in purchasing and constructing on the unstable land.