Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 8th 2015 Contents A8
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Thursday, October 8, 2015
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#32 O'meara Industrial Estate,
Agriculture Minister Clarence
Rambharat is assuring farmers
and squatters that land tenure is
a top priority of the PNM Gov-
He was speaking to reporters
after attending a career guidance
seminar at Presentation College,
San Fernando, yesterday.
Saying he has vast experience
in land law, Rambharat explained
that a comprehensive audit of all
State lands would be commis-
sioned to determine the availability
of land use.
"The Government came in with
this promise so land tenure is our
number one issue. In Mayaro, for
example, more than half the people
who produce agricultural com-
modities are squatting so land
tenure is critical," he added.
He said land studies would also
be done to determine the suitability
of land for agriculture and hous-
"In the next two weeks I will
make a further statement on this
as I am looking at what used to
be the Ministry of Lands in order
to determine the most effective
way to have squatter regularisa-
tion," Rambharat added.
Saying it was important to give
food producers comfort, Ramb-
harat said that was one way to
reduce the food import bill.
On the issue of duty free con-
cessions on chemicals, Rambharat
acceded there could be abuse.
"These concessions will be
implemented on January 1, 2016
and by that time, the ministry will
have clear rules and regulations to
guide those who will benefit.
"We have spoken about
approved vehicles and vessels.
Those details are being worked out
with the people who are the
intended beneficiaries. We are liais-
ing with all farmers and fishermen s
associations," Rambharat added.
He said widespread consulta-
tions would be held with all asso-
Rambharat said he was taking
personal responsibility for any
oversight on spending within his
ministry and its agencies.
"We have to spend wisely and
manage what we have if we are to
make a contribution to food pro-
duction," Rambharat added. He
also said CEPEP and URP would
be explored as a means of provid-
ing labour to farmers.
"That is not a direction we have
used before but the pineapple
farmers have said they would like
to have labour through CEPEP and
URP," Rambharat said.
He noted that agriculture had
to become more attractive to the
youths, adding that all agricultur-
alists must be well compensated
for their efforts.
tenure a priority
Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi is
confident Government can close the
$21 billion deficit gap between revenue
and expenditure using subsidy reduc-
tion, revenue generation and asset
He was speaking to reporters after
attending a career guidance seminar at
his alma mater Presentation College,
San Fernando, yesterday.
Defending his Government s $63 bil-
lion budget, Al-Rawi said a similar
deficit was recorded when the People s
Partnership presented its last budget.
"This is the first time a Minister of
Finance has laid open the cards on the
table. Last year we in fact had that kind
of deficit to the extent of $18-odd bil-
lion," Al-Rawi said.
He said the projections would be
realistic as "Government had not hinged
everything upon oil and gas revenues."
He added: "You would have seen we
dealt with some of the subsidies in gas
in particular. It s been a careful bal-
"The Minister of Finance has spoken
to the manner in which we intend to
close the gap to leave the Budget at a
closer figure of less than the 4.5 per
cent of GDP. We are confident that the
measures to flesh out that $21 billion
gap between estimated revenue and
expected revenue will be there."
Al-Rawi said Government also was
careful to peg the Budget using a con-
servative oil and gas price.
During his speech to the students,
Al-Rawi encouraged them to think of
happiness as a quality of life.
"Marry someone whom you can love
for the rest of your life and ask yourself
what kind of legacy you are going to
leave in this life," Al-Rawi said. Urging
the students to embrace their failures,
Al-Rawi said that was what shaped
"Learn to love your failures. Accept
that you will make mistakes and own
your mistakes. Stand up and say I will
succeed. Always strive to have balance
in your life," Al-Rawi added.
He also said it was important to have
a firm belief in God and family. Al-
Rawi urged the young men to respect
the concept of privacy and to engage
"You do not need to post all your
feelings online and always show com-
passion for people because you do not
know what they are going through,"
Also attending the seminar yesterday
were commander of the T&T Coast
Guard Wayne Armour and president
of the Past Students Association Pres-
ident Steven Samlalsingh. RS
Al-Rawi: We can
close deficit gap
Minister of State in the Ministry of Education Dr Lovell Francis and NESC president Kern Dass,
second from right, pose with the 2015 graduation class of the National Energy Skills Centre during
their graduation ceremony at the NESC auditorium, Couva, yesterday. PHOTO: TONY HOWELL
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