A resident of Penal is seeking to bring a lawsuit against Rural Development and Local Government Minister Kazim Hosein and the Cabinet over their alleged delays in facilitating a by-election for a vacant district in the Penal/Debe Regional Corporation.

Guardian Media understands that earlier this week, lawyers representing Nicholas Rampersad, of Ragoonanan Trace, Penal, filed an application for judicial review over the alleged delay.

The case was assigned to High Court Judge Joan Charles, who ordered Rampersad’s legal team to serve the intended defendants and set a hearing for next Thursday.

Before Rampersad is allowed to pursue the case, Justice Charles will have to determine whether he should be granted leave to pursue the claim, that is, whether he has an arguable case with a realistic prospect of success and if he had alternate remedies to resolve the issue.

In his court filings, obtained by Guardian Media, Rampersad’s lawyers stated that on December 2, 2019, Purushottam Singh, a United National Congress (UNC) candidate, was e˚lected as local government councillor for the electoral district of Debe South.

After Singh passed away on February 14, the corporation’s Chairman Dr Allen Sammy declared the seat vacant and its chief executive officer informed Hosein of the vacancy.

Rampersad’s lawyers are claiming that while the ministry’s permanent secretary acknowledged the correspondence in May, no response was received.

They also alleged that while Hosein promised that the situation was receiving urgent attention neither he nor the Cabinet informed the Office of the President of the vacancy so that a writ could be issued to the Returning Officer for a by-election.

In the court filings, Rampersad’s attorneys are contending that the inaction breached Section 1 of the Constitution, which declares Trinidad and Tobago a sovereign democratic State.

They referred to other segments of the Constitution and the Municipal Corporations Act, which they claimed gave the Minister and Cabinet the responsibility to notify the President within a reasonable time.

They claimed that the delay, which effectively left people residing in Debe South unrepresented for almost a year, amounted to a fundamental subversion of the rule of law.

Rampersad is being represented by Anand Ramlogan, SC, Renuka Rambhajan, Jayanti Lutchmedial, Cheyenne Lugo, Natasha Bisram, and Vishaal Siewsaran.