A COURT of Appeal judge has suspended High Court declarations and orders which might have had severe consequences for National Petroleum’s (NP) service stations.
On Friday, Justice Vasheist Kokaram granted the order to NP, the state-owned gas supplier, after the Petroleum Dealers Association (PDA) didn’t resist the applying.
The suspension of Justice Avason Quinlan-Williams’ orders covers the hearing and determination of NP’s appeal and a separate appeal by the Minister of Energy. The hearing of the 2 appeals, which were consolidated, is about for June 9, 2023.
In May, Quinlan-Williams ruled on a judicial review claim by the PDA difficult late energy minister Franklin Khan’s decision to grant NP a retail marketing licence for a gas station in Diego Martin.
In its application for the suspension order, NP warned the court’s declarations would have severe consequences on its business operations, specifically 67 of its service stations, and “will affect the travelling public” and compromise TT’s fuel security.
NP said the judge’s declarations brought into query the legitimacy of the terms and conditions of contractual arrangements of gas stations run by dealers.
On June 17, NP, which was an interested party within the claim on the High Court, filed its notice of appeal.
In its application, NP warned in regards to the immediate and practical effects of Quinlan-Williams’s declarations. It said each dealer could be required to acquire its own retail marketing licence, and while they waited for that, the gas stations couldn’t operate, “which can impact the delivery and availability of fuel to the general public.”
Disruption in operations would even have a severe financial impact on NP and affect its ability to proceed business generally, the applying further noted.
NP said this was not limited to the provision of fuel to service stations but in addition applied to jet fuel, marine fuel, lubricants, LPG (cooking gas), greases and other products.
Closure of the service stations wouldn’t also affect other businesses with which NP has business partnerships for quick service, comparable to fast-food restaurants and banks
It also said any antagonistic impact on its profitability could be detrimental to the shareholder – the corporation sole.
“There will probably be a resultant lack of revenue to Government not only because the shareholder but in relation to all other taxes and levies that are payable by NP on its revenues.”
NP is represented by attorneys Russel Martineau, SC, Kelvin Ramkissoon and Gregory Armorer. The PDA is represented by a team led by Senior Counsel Fyard Hosein.