Imbert defeated in court, gets a tongue lashing

FINANCE Minister Colm Imbert has been defeated in a judicial review claim filed against him by former Central Bank governor Jwala Rambarran.

Rambarran had requested that Imbert disclose certain information to him after making an application under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). However, Imbert refused to disclose the information citing confidentiality.

But on Thursday, High Court judge Justice Frank Seepersad ordered at the San Fernando High Court that Imbert release the information within the next seven days.

The Finance Minister also came in for some harsh criticism by the judge.

“The defendant (Imbert), notwithstanding his decades of public service, cannot be so bold as to think that he can usurp this court’s function and be the judge and jury of his own credibility and expertise or that deference should be afforded in relation to his opinion because he is who he is. It is and shall remain within this court’s remit to determine what material amounts to relevant evidence and the weight and credibility of same,” said Justice Seepersad.

The judge made the statement at the San Fernando High Court yesterday morning as he ruled in favour of Rambarran, who was seeking to have certain documents disclosed to him under the Freedom of Information Act.