Architectural firm loses $60m claim against State

The Hall of Justice in Port of Spain. - JEFF K MAYERS
The Hall of Justice in Port of Spain. - JEFF K MAYERS

A local architectural firm which acted as a consultant to the Education Ministry in 2004 will not be able to pursue its claim for $60 million that it says the ministry owes it

A High Court judge has upheld the limitation defence of the State.

In a written decision, Justice Betsy Ann Lambert-Peterson struck out Forum A&D Architects Ltd claim against the State because it was considered time-barred since it fell outside the statutory period of four years.

The firm filed its claim in April 2015, seeking outstanding payment for consultancy services, design and preparing tender documents for upgrade projects for schools: San Juan Secondary Comprehensive, El Dorado Secondary Comprehensive, El Dorado Secondary and St Augustine Senior Secondary, including interest. It was awarded the tender for the four schools in 2004.

In November 2015, the State admitted to owing $11.1 million for services for the St Augustine Senior Secondary School, but raised in its defence the issue of limitation for the other claims.

The Attorney General asked for the to claim be struck out.

In her ruling, Lambert-Peterson said, “I am satisfied that to proceed to trial and hear the entire evidence will effectively deprive the defendant of the benefit of the limitation provisions which are intended to liberate a litigant from the oppression of defending a stale and dated claim.”

She also held that it was clear there was no running account between the parties, but separate debts, and the four-year period would have started from December 2, 2008, when the invoices were submitted for payment.

The firm was represented by attorneys Nirad Samnadda-Ramrekersingh and Richard Freeman. Darrell Allahar and Amrita Ramsoon represented the Attorney General.


"Architectural firm loses $60m claim against State"

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