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Appeal court to rule on NTCS partial payout tomorrow

Published:Tuesday | December 4, 2012 | 12:00 AM

Barbara Gayle, Justice Coordinator

The Court of Appeal is to rule tomorrow if the members of the National Transport Co-operative Society (NTCS) are to get 20 per cent of the $2 billion which was awarded to them last September.

Government lawyers, who are applying for final leave to take the award to the United Kingdom Privy Council, have opposed the interim payment and are seeking a stay of execution until the matter has been decided.

Richard Mahfood, QC, who is representing the Government, argued that the members suffered no loss. He said the Government had a good case. He challenged the award for an interim payment on the grounds that there was no guarantee that the money could be recovered from the bus owners.

The NTCS is seeking to have the Government pay over a portion of the award until the matter is finalised in court. Head of the NTCS, Ezroy Millwood, who died last Saturday, had said in an affidavit that the members were destitute.

Opposed application

Yesterday, Lord Anthony Gifford, QC, and Patrick Bailey, both representing the NTCS, opposed the Government's application for a stay of the interim award.

The Government and the NTCS have been in the courts for more than a decade, after the State took over the franchise to operate in the Kingston Metropolitan Transport Region.

The case has also been to the Privy Council, which made a determination in 2009 as to how payment should be calculated. The NTCS had sued the Government to recover losses.

Last September, the Court of Appeal ruled that the Government should pay J$1.8 billion plus interest at three per cent to the NTCS.

The Government applied to the Court of Appeal this year to take the matter to the UK Privy Council on the basis that there was a problem with the way the award was calculated.

It is claiming that the award should not have been calculated from 2004 but from 2009 when the Privy Council made the ruling.

The Court of Appeal, in granting the Government conditional leave in June, said it was a proper case to take to the Privy Council.

The Government was ordered to take steps to within 90 days to prepare the record for dispatch to the Privy Council before final leave will be granted.