Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 12th 2015 Contents A9
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SUN LOUNGER SET
Work continues on land along
Endeavour Road, Chaguanas,
following an EMA order for
work to cease.
PHOTO: ABRAHAM DIAZ
Squatters in west Trinidad say they
are concerned as to what will happen
to the promises given to them over
the issuance of certificates of comfort
given that the Senate ran out of time
to deal with the State's Regularisation
of Lands Bill or the Squatting Bill.
Some of them are upset, angry, dis-
appointed and are blaming the People s
Partnership Government for what has
Residents of Bagatelle, Diego Martin,
said yesterday in 2010 officials from
the Land Settlement Agency visited
them to have their respective documents
Kareem Reid, of Allick Terrace Exten-
sion, said: "They told us they would
call us house-to-house to come and
collect our deeds of comfort."
There are about 35 houses at Allick
Terrace Extension, some of them having
already received their Deeds of Comfort
Travis Fortune, who lives Lower
Bagatelle, said he and other residents
received their deeds of comfort about
15 years ago and were still waiting on
the lands to be regularised.
"I don t think I should be overly con-
cerned because we have our certificates
already and by what s right we should
have our lands regularised because we
have those certificates in our hands,"
The new Bill, which was passed in
Parliament last week Wednesday,
changes the date in the old law where
people who had illegally occupied State
lands up to January 1998 were entitled
to be regularised to June 2014.
This means that more people will be
regularised and will receive certificates
of comfort from the State.
Sea Trace Extension resident Juliet
Bentick, 53, said she received her cer-
tificate of comfort in 2012.
She said: "This is unfortunate that
this Bill is being shelved because it is
very crucial. It was a promise made by
this Government and we have been
counting on the Government because
it is donkey years that we have been
lobbying for certificates of comfort and
we did not get any.
"Now we have gotten the certificates
but what about those that have been
promised to get theirs? Will they still
get it given this new development?"
Margaret Baptiste, 64, said she
received her certificate of comfort three
weeks ago and was concerned for her
neighbours who were yet to receive
"This is not good news at all. I am
questioning what will become of my
letter and certificate of comfort given
to me. Is it null and void now? What
does this means?" she asked.
Baptiste said she was concerned and
added that it might have a backlash on
Not wanting to say if it will affect
the voting in the upcoming general elec-
tion, another resident, who wished not
to be identified said he believed if the
Bill was dealt with in the Senate it would
have helped to bring the present admin-
istration into a second term. "This is
real failure," the resident added.
Government identified up to 451 more
squatter sites for processing in addition
to more than 200 previous sites.
Juliet Bentick, a
resident of Sea
her certificate of
...Residents see a backlash for Govt
Squatters in south Trinidad are disappointed
that Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar failed
to deliver on her promise to regularise them before
the end of her government's tenure.
This after the Senate ran out of time to tackle
the long-anticipated State Land (Regularisation of
Tenure) (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill, 2015.
Even though Leader of Government Business in
the Senate and Minister of the Environment Ganga
Singh said the Bill would be tackled immediately
when the Government won the election and
resumed office, several squatters said they were
now in limbo.
Speaking at Reform Village, Golconda, yesterday,
disabled squatter Kavita Balchan said she was pray-
ing they could get some security of tenure.
She asked: "What they expect us to do now? I
feel really disappointed because we had made
arrangements with the Land Settlement Agency to
purchase the land we are living on."
She explained that initially the LSA said it would
be charged $30,000 for the land but that was later
increased to $100,000.
"We wanted the Government to give us a deed
of comfort. Now that the bill isn t passed we do
not know what will happen to us," she added.
In the squatting community of Victoria Village,
dozens of people who live along the former Trinidad
Government Railway (TGR) line, said they too were
Devi Maharaj said: "We have been living here
for over 15 years and we cannot repair our house
because we have no deed of comfort. This is real
worries for us."
Her neighbours --- Faith Gordon, Jean Swain and
Grace Achong---said Persad-Bissessar waited too
long to pass the Bill.
"Why wait at the last minute to try to pass the
Bill. They should have done that long time. They
had five years," Achong said.
She added since the Government took office,
nobody had visited the squatting community to
speak about regularisation. She said lands were
developed opposite their homes but none of the
houses were sold to squatters.
"Kamla has to come better than that. Who she
think she fooling. She don t care about squatters,"
Maureen Mykoo said she and her neighbours
were willing to pay for the lands on which they
She said the LSA had started clearing new lands
about 150 feet from their community but that was
not for squatters. Mykoo longed for the day when
their community could have good roads, proper
lights and running water.
Pensioner Hannah Choon said she had hoped
the Government would finally regularise them.
Now that the Bill has been squashed Choon said
she was living in fear that one day she would no
longer have a home. Persad-Bissessar said over
60,000 citizens were awaiting regularisation.
Squatters hit Kamla
over lapse of Bill
Senate runs out of time to tackle amendments
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