$2-billion award to NTCS before the court tomorrow
Tyrone Reid, Senior Staff Reporter
Transport tycoon Ezroy Millwood is dead, just two days before the multibillion-dollar lawsuit over which he fought the Government for more than a decade is scheduled to be brought back before the court. The case is set for tomorrow.
Millwood, 70, was found dead at his home in Leas Flat in St Andrew about 3:30 a.m., yesterday. The police say they do not suspect foul play. However, the Constabulary Communication Network, which confirmed his passing, says a post-mortem has been ordered and the relatives are allowed to have an independent pathologist present.
Millwood and his 350-member-strong National Transport Co-operative Society (NTCS) had waged a tough war with the Government over a decision to end the sub-franchise agreement between the private bus company he headed, and the state-owned Jamaica Urban Transit Company.
EYEING PRIVY COUNCIL
Last September, the Court of Appeal ruled that the Government should pay $1.8 billion plus interest at three per cent to the NTCS. But the Government is still protesting the way the award was calculated and is expected to be granted final leave to appeal to the United Kingdom-based Privy Council. This is the second time that the case is going before the law lords.
The transport mogul is dead, but the approximately $2-billion award he should have received from the Government still lives.
"It continues. We have a judgement of $1.8 billion, plus interest," said Millwood's lawyer, Lord Anthony Gifford, QC, in response to Sunday Gleaner queries.
The noted attorney also said that Millwood would have wanted the legal team to fight to the very end in the lawsuit.
"We will continue to represent the interests of the society because that's what he would have wanted," added Gifford.
Yesterday when our news team visited Millwood's mansion overlooking Kingston, his common-law wife was being consoled and was unable to speak to us.
A family friend told us that Millwood complained about not feeling well and was visited by his doctor at home, but the prognosis did not signal that his death was imminent.
Meanwhile, Gifford told The Sunday Gleaner that the last time he saw his client, he seemed despondent.
"He seemed to have been depressed when I saw him last, which was about a week ago," he said.
Asked if he believed Millwood died of a broken heart, Gifford said he could not comment.
"Twelve years he has fought this and has shown a fighting spirit. He was a tiger in defence of the members of the society. He kept the fight going to get the judgement," Gifford added.
In June this year, the Government was granted the go-ahead to challenge the $1.8-billion award to the NTCS before the Privy Council. A furious Millwood characterised the Govern-ment's legal manoeuvring as an abuse of power and likened it to the slave trade.
Millwood, who up to June this year did not receive an interim payment arising from the suit, also lamented that justice delayed is justice denied.