Attorneys Prakash Ramadhar and Larry Lalla have written National Security Minister Stuart Young on behalf of Kelly Hosein-Richards, owner of D’Original Sauce Doubles, over the shut down of her curbside service at Eastern Main Road in Curepe by police on Saturday.
The unsigned letter was not described as a pre-action protocol letter because Hosein-Richards, "is more concerned about the national interest, the national psyche and the interest of all other small business owners in her situation, than with her own narrow interests."
The letter noted the public health regulations permit "services related to food such as take away and delivery food service operations." The regulations also ban congregations of five or more people in public spaces to prevent the spread of covid19.
The letter said after the Prime Minister recently announced the suspension of non-essential businesses and services, Hosein-Richard initially closed her business. She subsequently opened on a limited basis on April 4, because of the many demands of her customers. The letter also said this service only involved curbside pick up.
The letter said Hosein-Richards was advised that she fell under the class of permitted take away food services and the actions of the police officers were "unconstitutional and unlawful, being in breach of her property rights, discriminatory, harsh, oppressive, arbitrary and irrational."
In a statement, Ramadhar (who is also St Augustine MP) said while he and Lalla are examining legal options available to Hosein-Richards, common sense should prevail in whatever regulations are implemented to deal with covid19. Ramadhar said the baby must not be thrown out with the bathwater.
He urged that under the established protocols, any vendor who wish to continue their trade must be allowed to do so in accordance with those protocols.
Expressing uncertainty over how long the public health regulations will remain in effect, Ramadhar said, "There must be a balance between normalcy and the need to protect our citizens."
He added those people who "abide by the stipulated and proper protocols, should be allowed equally to continue their work and to provide an essential service to our communities. Copies of the letter sent to Young, were also sent to Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi and Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith.