The Privy Council has ruled in favour of the constitutionality of the Public Health Regulations employed by Government to manage the COVID-19 pandemic in Trinidad and Tobago.
An official statement issued by the Ministry of the Attorney General reports that the Privy Council found that the regulations issued by the Ministry of Health were, “appropriately based on sound medical and expert scientific evidence and made in the public interest of protecting the life and health”, of the citizens of this country.
“In particular, the Privy Council rejected arguments of unconstitutionality and interference with religious rights,” the statement asserted.
As such, the case brought by Dominic Suraj and Satyanand Maharaj was dismissed by the Law Lords.
The following is the full text of the statement from the Attorney General’s Office…
The Privy Council has today, 20th June, 2022, dismissed the appeals brought by the Appellants, Dominic Suraj and Satyanand Maharaj v Attorney General of Trinidad and Tobago  UKPC 22. The Appellants were challenging the constitutionality of the Public Health Regulations passed by the Government to manage the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Privy Council has unanimously upheld the management of the COVID-19 Pandemic since early 2020 by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago. Specifically, the Court found that the Public Health Regulations and Guidelines issued by the Minister of Health were appropriately based on sound medical and expert scientific evidence and made in the public interest of protecting the life and health of the population of this Republic.
This case was successfully argued and won by the Attorney General in the High Court and the Court of Appeal prior to his assumption of Office as Attorney General, leading a Team of committed and extremely competent Attorneys and, the Attorney General takes this opportunity to thank that Team and the Attorneys appearing before the Privy Council.
The Government’s approach to managing the COVID-19 pandemic has therefore been conclusively endorsed by the country’s highest court of law. In particular, the Privy Council rejected arguments of unconstitutionality and interference with religious rights. This ruling is an important vindication of the Government’s long standing legislative agenda and use of legislation passed without a super majority. This issue has been the subject of running vocal complaints by members of the Opposition who have baselessly claimed that this approach was contrary to the Constitution. The Privy Council has today decisively rejected that criticism and vindicated both the position of the Government and its legislative agenda.
This decision follows almost immediately on the other significant decision in Chandler v The State (No. 2)  UKPC 19—delivered on the 16 May 2022—in which the Privy Council also upheld the Government’s position on the proper interpretation and application of the savings law clause in the Constitution.
These two decisions together set ground-breaking constitutional precedent and affirm the correctness of the Government’s approach to legislative drafting since its assumption of office.