SENIOR Counsel Israel Khan says he will shut up about his call for the declaration of a state of emergency if the Prime Minister receives advice from several senior counsel telling him he can temporarily suspend the rights of citizens.
Khan gave the names of five senior counsel Dr Rowley can call on for legal advice on the issue.
Two days ago, Khan called on the PM “to declare a state of emergency for a short period of three months and, if necessary, further three-month periods until the virus is no longer a threat to our lives in TT.”
On Thursday, he again called for the prime minister to make the declaration.
“Please Mr PM stop the jhanjhat vis-à-vis covid19 Regulations 2020 by declaring a state of emergency,” he said in a letter.
Khan said he was giving the prime minister his advice for free.
He said the public health ordinance regulations by themselves could not trump the law of the land or the constitutional rights of the citizens to freedom of movement and assembly and the right to enjoyment of property.
“I fully understand what you are attempting to do in order to contain the virus but you are being misled that you can do it by an existing law, that is, the public health ordinance without kicking in a state of emergency,” Khan said.
He said if the attorneys he recommended were of the view that the State could can temporarily suspend or abridge citizens’ constitutional rights without declaring a state of emergency, he would “shut up about mouthing that after the virus is no longer a threat, the possibility that the taxpayers may have to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in damages to the owners of businesses which were closed down during the covid19 regulations of 2020.”
On Wednesday Rowley said the government will impose a state of emergency, but only if it would better TT’s chances of containing covid19.
"When we reach that bridge we will let you know,” he said at a media briefing at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s, Port of Spain.
He urged TT to adhere to the stay-at-home regulations in place.