Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 4th 2016 Contents A8
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Wednesday, May 4, 2016
MAY 03, 2016
May 03, 2016
May 03, 2016
May 03, 2016
May 03, 2016
Acting permanent secretary in
the Ministry of Agriculture, Land
and Fisheries, Joy Persad-Myers,
said yesterday that 3,000 appli-
cants have been awaiting the
issuance of agricultural leases by
Some of the applicants have been
waiting for 15 or 16 years, Persad-
Persad-Myers made the disclo-
sure during a Joint Select Committee
(JSC) meeting with the Ministry of
Agriculture, Land and Fisheries on
land and physical infrastructure.
Addressing the committee s
chairman, Stephen Creese, Persad-
Myers said in carrying out the duties
of the ministry, they have encoun-
tered numerous challenges. Among
the issues faced are an increase in
residential squatting, the inability
of legitimate applicants to receive
state lands and issues related to
state land tenure.
The ministry has also been grap-
pling with land grabbing by asso-
ciations and organisations purport-
ing to assign lands for agricultural
"We have also moved to address
over 3,000 files with applicants for
agricultural lands. That is what we
have been trying to prioritise, dis-
aggregate and attend to. This has
been a very painful exercise when
we go into the individual files with
persons waiting for 15 or 16 years
for a simple assignment of lease
with things like inheritances and
regularisation of persons who have
been engaged in substantive agri-
culture," Persad-Myers said.
To help clear the backlog and
fast track these applications, Per-
sad-Myers said the ministry has
re-established the agricultural land
administration and publicly adver-
tised to fill the positions of Com-
missioner of State Lands and Direc-
tor of Surveys, including other
substantive posts "to deal with land
grabbing, land blocking and squat-
Committee member Franklin
Khan said nothing seems to happen
in the public service.
"There is a tendency to blame
the political directorate."
Khan described the delay in
handing out leases as a "disaster."
He said the Commissioner of
State Lands now has 3,000 files on
his desk, while another 7,000 of
Caroni 1975 land leases also needed
to be dealt with.
To avoid this bottleneck, Khan
suggested that Caroni 1976 Ltd
could have issued its own leases.
"In an attempt to centralise
authority you clog the system," Khan
Khan said the PNM has been
focusing its attention on agriculture,
which contributes 0.4 per cent to
With a $5 billion food import bill,
Khan said, agriculture was funda-
"If we don t get land tenure right,
agriculture will go nowhere."
He said the "bureaucracy" in the
system should not stop the farming
"At the end of the day you have
to convince this committee that you
are putting systems in place to reg-
ularise tenancy," Khan insisted.
Committee member Hafeez Ali
said that land tenure issues were
hampering the growth of the coun-
try s agriculture.
He said there were 18 steps an
applicant had to take before getting
a lease, while it takes a minimum
of three years before a lease is hand-
ed to a farmer.
"So before we could plant a
tomato tree we have to wait three
years to do that. I think that is unac-
ceptable," Ali said.
Ali said the three-year waiting
period was a moderate timeframe
given by the ministry since he
knows of individuals in
Barataria/San Juan districts that
have been waiting for ten years for
The committee heard that there
are upward of 50,000 farmers legit-
imately and illegitimately occupying
state lands in T&T.
3,000 waiting for farm land leases
Permanent secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries, Joy
Persad-Myers, centre, speaks during yesterday's Joint Select Committee at the J
Hamilton Maurice Room Mezzanine Floor, Office of the Parliament, Tower D,
Port- of-Spain, yesterday. PHOTO: MARCUS GONZALES
A Guyanese woman and a La Romaine man
who allegedly broke into a store and stole stuffed
toys were granted bail totalling $40,000 yes-
Rhonda Daniels, 32, and Rickson Patterson, 42,
appeared before San Fernando Magistrate Nanette
Forde-John charged with shop breaking and lar-
It is alleged that between April 5 and 6 they
broke into Mala s mini mart in La Romaine and
stole stuffed toys, perfume and haberdashery val-
ued $9,555, the property of Rajdaye Mahadeo. Pc
Mohess laid the charges.
When asked to enter a plea, Patterson said
guilty with a cause. He explained he was there
Two on $40,000 bail for stolen toys
but he did not break into the store.
The magistrate entered a not guilty plea on his
behalf. Daniels pleaded not guilty.
Her attorney, Annalee Girwar, said Daniels
has not breastfed her eight-month-old baby since
her arrest. Daniels was granted $25,000 bail with
Patterson was previously granted $15,000 bail.
Court prosecutor Cleyon Seedan said some of
the items, including stuffed animals which were
produced in court, were recovered. The matter
was adjourned until May 31.
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