Justice Devindra Rampersad, said that a strong prima-facie case had been made out that Edfam had breached Section 8 of the Town and Country Planning Act—requiring permission of the Town and Country Planning Division where there is any material change in the use of a building.
There has been continuing controversy between the Diego Martin Regional Corporation and the schools, over the use of the building which had previously housed a restaurant.
The Lower Maraval Residents Association and residents of Champs Elysees Road had objected to the schools opening at the location because of traffic congestion that it would bring to the area.
After discovering that no permission had been granted for the schools to operate at 129 Long Circular Road, the Regional Corporation obtained an injunction to restrain Edfam from opening the schools at the start of the new school term pending hearing of further arguments in court.
It became apparent that the Regional Corporation could not continue with the injunction since it has no specific statutory authority to restrain breaches of the country’s planning laws.
Such authority is solely in the Office of the Attorney General. Attorney General Anand Ramlogan, in a statement yesterday, said he instructed lawyers to intervene.
He also raised concern that Edfam had failed to register its private schools with the Ministry of Education in breach of the Education Act.
In his ruling Justice Rampersad warned that wilful violation of the Town and Country Laws will no longer be tolerated.
The judge has ordered that the injunction restraining the opening of the school be continued pending Edfam’s urgent application for relevant permissions from the Town and Country Planning Division, the Regional Corporation and the Ministry of Education.
The matter will come up again before Justice Rampersad tomorrow at 1 pm.