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Trinidad: Wife wants Life Sport millions in lawsuit over 15-year divorce case

By Trinidad Newsday

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Educator Adolphus Daniel promotes a learning programme in 2016. FILE PHOTO

(TRINIDAD NEWSDAY) —   Frustrated at the lengthy delay in settling her divorce, the estranged wife of educator and one of the central figures in the educational side of the controversial Life Sport programme, Adolphus Daniel, is suing the judge in the matter Justice Joseph Tam.

Ingrid Daniel, who is being represented by attorneys Christophe Rodriguez, Akiri Heath-Adams and Elena Da Silva-Ottley, is claiming that Tam has breached her constitutional rights in his failure to finalise her divorce settlement.

In her application filed in the High Court on Friday, Daniel said the delays are so excessive that she is unable to obtain benefits from the divorce to which she should have been entitled, and the delay is an “affront to family justice”. She is hoping to have Tam make his judgment within seven days following the completion of the constitutional claim. She is also requesting legal costs, damages and any other relief the court deems fit.

Adolphus Daniel was awarded a $34 million contract under the People’s Partnership’s Life Sport programme. The programme – the brainchild of former sports minister, Anil Roberts – was found to be fraught with corruption and was shut down by then prime minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar following an audit conducted by the Ministry of Finance in July 2014.

The programme was supposed to target at-risk youths teaching them various trade skills, sports and an educational aspect headed by Daniel’s eBeam Interact Ltd. He was awarded millions, but questions remained hanging over the deliverables since it was claimed that although he received the money, youths did not benefit under the programme as it came to an end before classes could be taught. In 2016, Daniel said he was not returning the money.

The $34 million Daniel is said to have received is also part of the divorce claim as his wife sought for and received permission to add the sum to her claims. In her claim, Daniel said the matrimonial assets amounted to $33,150,000 outside of the Life Sport funds.

In 2004, she filed for divorce which was first heard by then high court judge, now Appeal Court judge Maureen Rajnauth-Lee, who transferred it to Justice Malcolm Holdip who recused himself. Tam was then appointed to preside over the matter.

In 2008, Tam varied the orders made by Rajnauth-Lee regarding maintenance to both Daniel and the couple’s youngest child and fixed a trial date to begin in January the following year. The trial was concluded that year and Tam reserved his decision in the judgment, which to date he has not provided.

The affidavit said in 2010, she became aware of an additional property in Cascade and asked that it be considered in the final judgment which was allowed. Then in 2014 when Daniel received the $34 million his estranged wife again filed for and was given permission to add that to her case. As a result of the new evidence the matter was adjourned to January 2015.

“The claimant has suffered and continues to suffer significant current and future loss, damage, detriment and injury to her proper sense of dignity and pride as a result of the failure to deliver judgment and or the continued delay in the delivery of the judgment by the Honourable Mr Justice Tam” paragraph 14 of the letter stated. The affidavit added that the value of the matrimonial assets has diminished since the matter began in 2009 and Daniel is unable to obtain from the judgment the benefits to which she would have been entitled, thanks to “excessive delays” in the judgment.

Paragraph 16 said while waiting for the judgment, Daniel, who last worked as a lecturer at the TT Hospitality and Tourism Institute on contract which ended in August, “has been rendered almost impecunious”. The affidavit added that Daniel has missed out on approximately $470,000 in maintenance as a result of the deal.

“The property at Cascade, the matrimonial family home, has fallen into complete dilapidation to the extent that it is now uninhabitable, and the claimant had to vacate the premises along with her youngest child.”

Daniel’s claim said Tam’s failure to deliver the judgment or the continued delay in the delivery of the judgment is so excessive that her right to the protection of the law under the Constitution has been breached.

“The unexplained delay in the delivery of this judgment should never occur as it is an affront to family justice. Moreover, the delay is untenable, unjustified and unconstitutional”

Daniel said her constitutional rights under section 4(b) is being infringed due to the delay.

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