Party boat operator threatens lawsuit over use of Port of Spain waterfront

The content originally appeared on: News Americas Now

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

File photo of the Waterfront Complex, in Port of Spain.

A party-boat operator is threatening to take the Port Authority to court over the use of an area at the waterfront close to the Breakfast Shed facility.

In a letter to the Port Authority’s senior legal officer, attorney Peter Taylor, for Embassy Cruises – a subsidiary of Coral Vision Cruises Ltd – challenged the port’s authority to restrict his client’s access to the waterfront and suspension of one of its boat rides on January 28.

Taylor is also challenging the US$3,900 fee charged by the Port Authority to use the area. He said the daily fee is the same charged to large luxury cruise liners, and is “oppressive and unfair.”

Taylor referred to an arbitration announcement by former attorney general Anand Ramlogan, SC, in 2014, between Udecott and the Hyatt Regency over the area, near the Breakfast Shed.

Taylor said Ramlogan’s statement elucidated to whom beneficial interest accrues.

He accused the Port Authority of consistently failing to show the statutory underpinning upon which it purported to exercise jurisdiction over the area of the Breakfast Shed and the Waterfront.

He said Embassy Cruises has operated at the waterfront since 2011 with written permission from Nidco and Udecott, without prior interference from the Port Authority.

“From whence, therefore, cometh this new authority?” he asked. “This oppressive and unfair exercise of authority will not be countenanced by our client without legal challenge.”

Taylor has demanded compensation of $100,000 for the loss and damage his client endured from the January 28 suspension of the boat ride in seven days.

On that day, the vessel was set for boarding at 4 pm for an event organised by the Transport Credit Union when police officers and estate constables from the port prevented passengers from embarking.

Newsday understands that discussions between the parties failed to arrive at a consensus.

The letter sent to the Port Authority was also copied to Police Commissioner Erla Christopher.