Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 5th 2015 Contents YVONNE BABOOLAL
Chaguanas Wast MP Jack Warner gave a short
history lesson in Parliament Wednesday, cor-
recting historical dates which he said Land and
Marine Affairs Minister Jairam Seemungal got
Seemungal, during debate on the State Land
(Regularisation of Tenure) Amendment Bill 2014,
said squatting goes back to the 1830s, after the
emancipation of African slaves and their appren-
The then colonial government, to avoid simple
people from acquiring land, created a law that no
less than 100 acres could be bought at a time,
Seemungal said. He said those who could not
afford this were forced to squat until the 1860s
when governor AH Gordon created a new policy
stating up to five acres of freehold land could be
Seemungal said when the People s National
Movement (PNM) came into power they literally
put an end to the acquisition of freehold prop-
"That s why 66 per cent of the land
mass is still under the state," he said.
This forced people into squat-
ting and today there are some
60,000 squatters in T&T, he
He said the People s Part-
nership Government was the
first to give squatters deeds
of comfort for the lands
they are occupying and
move them from the status
of landless to land owner.
All of this apparently
peeved Warner, who correct-
ed Seemungal about his his-
Slavery was abolished in
1838, he said, and this was fol-
lowed by apprenticeship (which
went into the 1840s).
Avoiding any mention of former
slaves squatting on state land,
Warner said the resulting labour
shortage forced the then government
to bring in Indian immigrants.
Seemungal, during his previous
contribution, said Government was
now using GIS technology and person-
nel to map all state land.
Some 23 sites have been completed
and the information has been stored
in a geographical data base, he said.
Government has also purchased
an unmanned aerial vehicle
(UAV) to provide images of
squatting communities. He said
the current bill has been amended to
allow people who have been squatting up
to June 2013 to apply for a Certificate of Com-
fort. Previously, they had up until January 1998.
Warner wanted to know why the PP did this.
An increased police presence and parking meters
along the city s streets were among the suggestions
made by citizens of San Fernando to alleviate traffic
The suggestions were put forward during the San
Fernando City Corporation s (SFFC) Public Consultation
on Traffic at the San Fernando City Hall on Wednesday
The SFFC s Traffic Management Committee, headed
by councillor Robert Paris, invited the public to give
their opinion on what would be the best solution to
the city s traffic.
One young San Fernando mother proposed a frequent
police presence at major intersections to deter motorists
from breaking traffic lights and clogging the roadway.
"We need to see the police present at the Skinner
Park intersection, the Coca-Cola intersection," said
"Because there are people who will continue to drive
even when the light is red and clog up the intersection.
And when your light is green you cannot pass and you
end up stuck there."
She also proposed a
walkover at the Gulf City
lights, saying it could ben-
efit the scores of youngsters
who frequent the area.
"I am always seeing children who
are going over to KFC or to get pizza taking a chance
to cross the road. We need to build a walkover there
before one of them gets knocked down."
Resident Keith Smith said he had lived abroad for
a number of years and had seen that the introduction
of parking metres had helped ease traffic congestion.
"I know the wreckers make a lot of money but why
don t we install parking metres? It would help in traffic
and generate revenue and ease the frustration of cit-
Paris told those gathered that the committee had
held 11 consultations in the past and are on their way
to coming up with solutions to the traffic.
He said a major influencing factor were the schools
in and around San Fernando.
Also attending the consultation was Mayor Kazim
Hosein, who praised Paris and other committee mem-
bers for their diligence in ensuring all viewpoints were
heard before any decisions were made.
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Friday, June 5, 2015
for South traffic
Pundit Varun Sharma prays for peace and
protection in T&T during the final Samhita
Homa to Lord Satyanarayan at the Lord
Hanuman Temple in Carapichaima on Tuesday.
PHOTO: RISHI RAGOONATH
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