Wildman fumes as NHT suit fumbles
Gary Spaulding, Senior Gleaner Writer
The lawsuit filed by Citizens' Action for Principle and Integrity (CAPI) to prevent the Government from taking $45.6 billion from the National Housing Trust (NHT) has taken an unexpected twist that has left the Opposition Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) embarrassed and attorney Hugh Wildman fuming.
It was discovered yesterday that Mario Harley, the man in whose name the suit has been filed, is not a contributor to the NHT.
Harley has been employed to the JLP since February 2008 and works out of its Belmont Road headquarters.
He had reportedly visited the offices of the NHT in 2008 and declared that he was self-employed and wanted to make contributions to the Trust.
Sunday Gleaner sources say Harley completed the requisite forms as a self-employed individual but has not made any contributions.
Yesterday, Wildman seemed livid when contacted by The Sunday Gleaner. He argued that the claim that Harley is not a NHT contributor is a smokescreen and this would not deter him from pursuing the matter to the level of the London-based Privy Council if necessary.
"I don't know about that (Harley's status in the NHT). As a lawyer, I would not know about that," argued Wildman.
"He came to me as a contributor to the Trust, and all I know is that Mario is under severe threat … . That is a smokescreen," declared Wildman.
"Whether it is Mr Harley or otherwise, the decision to draw down ($45 billion) can't wash in law … . There is going to be serious trouble with this thing. We are going to take it to the highest level," vowed Wildman.
JLP NOT CONSULTED
At the same time, JLP Chairman Robert Montague said although the party was never consulted about Harley's decision to take the matter to court, this does not diminish his rights as a Jamaican.
"The party was never consulted by the young man; however, the JLP defends his rights as an individual to take whatever steps he believes are right, and we would never stand in his way because it would run against the basic principles of the JLP's position on the individual's freedoms and rights," Montague told The Sunday Gleaner.
For his part, Wildman also served notice that given the new developments, he would be adopting fresh legal tactics in the coming days in preparation for the next court hearing, scheduled for Friday.
"I am going to use a different strategy since Mario is being pressured, and they are going to have to pay it back with interest," vowed Wildman, who is not pleased that the matter was put off when it was mentioned in court last Friday.
At that time, Justice Donald McIntosh put off a decision on whether an injunction should be issued to prevent the Government from touching the money so that the NHT could be served with the relevant documents and be represented at the hearing. The attorney general was also added as a party to the suit.
"The application for adjournment was frivolous," declared Wildman.
"Any law student is aware that one can get interim relief at an injunction without the filing of the status claim because the injunction is to preserve the status quo pending the determination of the substantive matter," he argued.
"If they make this case reach the Privy Council, it is going to be the biggest embarrassment to the Jamaican Government," asserted Wildman.
"I have already sent the papers to the United Kingdom to senior QCs, who are waiting for the case to reach there, and I will be taking that trip to England … ."