Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 12th 2016 Contents A12 news
guardian.co.tt Monday, December 12, 2016
Chin on Streets of
Farmers: We are being
treated with disrespect
Farmers, of Grande Riviere and Matelot,
who were hard hit by the recent disaster,
which caused thousands of dollars to
their plantations, say they are be-
ing treated with blatant disrespect
by the Agriculture Ministry and
The farmers, who cultivate acres
of land with cocoa, citrus, ground
provision, yam, cassava, dasheen,
coffee, banana, avocado and bread-
fruit, told T&T Guardian that their
only source of income was from farming
and this is what they were dependent
on to sustain their families and supply
food to the nation.
The 50-plus farmers, who have been
waiting for assistance for almost two
weeks since the disaster, said they were
disappointed that Minister of Agriculture,
Lands and Fisheries along with his technocrats
had failed to visit, to assist or give advice to
them in having their lands redeveloped so that
farmers could get back on their feet.
Spokesman for the affected farmers, Ashton
Gomez, told the T&T Guardian that farmers
were not interested in hand-outs, but wanted
to get back to the fields and continue to replant
their damaged crops.
"Eight agricultural extension officers from El
Repos Demonstration Station, Sangre Grande
coming to the farmers to make assessment for
damaged crops serves no purpose, or help for
the affected farmers." Gomez said. He said what
was needed presently was the technocrats com-
ing to providing the resources, such as machinery,
tractors, power saws and necessary fittings to restore
their irrigation system.
"This is what we are interested in," he said. "Not
giving information to an extension officer to assess
our crop damage."
Gomez said they were unable to approach the banks
for loans because they did not have deeds for the land
He recalled that in 1991 Prime Minister Dr
Keith Rowley, who was then Minister of Ag-
riculture, " promised to give us the land. He
was standing right here in Grande Riviere,
where he made this promise. Twenty-five
years have passed and farmers are yet to re-
ceive their deed."
He said governments past and present always
said they wanted to reduce the food import bill,
but little or no emphasis was placed on farmers, who
worked unusually long hours.
Gomez said: "This is why I kept saying that farmers
should be respected, but instead they are blatantly
disrespected and it's time government becomes se-
rious and gives the necessary tools and equipment
so farmers can enjoy their vocation."
Leroy Peters, farmer of Grande Riviere, said farmers
were being abused.
"We waiting for assistance, but none cares about
us. It is not only going back to the lands to restart
cultivation,but there are other implications. First is
our safety. We cannot get access to the lands because
they are blocked by fallen trees and huge amounts
Peters said he could not believed that the cocoa and
coffee which he harvested the day before the disaster
was all washed away. It amounted to thousands of
dollars, which was to be sold so that he could send
money for his daughter, a medical student in Grenada.
The farmers said they would continue to wait and
see if any helpwas coming to them.
"That is all we can do presently, as we need as-
sistance to get into our lands," they said.
"We are ready to work, but unforseen hindrances
are holding us back. Please, Minister of Agriculture,
the farmers will appreciate your visit so that we will
be guided accordingly."
Businessman Derek Chin said he believes
that Government Ministers including, Prime
Minister Dr Keith Rowley, were misinformed
regarding his $1 billion Streets of the World pro-
Recently, Chin said he was taken aback when he heard
senior ministers in this PNM administration referring
to his project as a "Government project" where he was
allegedly given a billion dollars by the previous admin-
istration, the People's Partnership government, to have
the project up and going.
However, Chin refuted these statements saying the
project was his and all he was negotiating with, with
officials from the last Government, was a lease that
made "economic sense."
"It is my project, to be developed by Chin's com-
pany, Dachin Enterprises. My idea. When I submitted
the Streets of the World project everyone loved it. The
last government saw the value of it from all aspects,"
He also disclosed to the T&T Guardian that his pro-
ject, once on stream, would be privately funded. An
investment of $500 million, "just to start. So, no tax
payers or Government money will be involved."
Both Price Waterhouse and Ernst and Young were
the principle negotiators.
Chin explained that the Streets of the World project
was all about taking T&T's culture---Carnival, steel pan, bandlead-
ers, music and placing it in a world class show case.
The Streets of the World project has been criticised by former
president of the Joint Consultative Council (JCC) Afra Raymond
who claims it is in breach of Central Tenders Board regulations.
He said the Request for Proposals (RFP) process used in August
2011 by the Ministry of Planning and Sustainable Develop-
ment was improper and voidable since the assessment rules
were published one month after the closing date.
The only obstacle in the way for Chin is the signing of
the papers to acquire ten acres of land allotted to Dachin
Enterprises so that construction can begin. Chin was
charged $130 million for ten acres.
Matelot/Grande Riviere flooding
The Streets of the World project will consist of
22 acres of ultimate destination, appealing to the
The project is expected to boost Trinidad's tourism,
by extension the economy and also, create employ-
ment for thousands of people.
Officials of Disney and Hettema Group, who
specialise in uniquely creative designs for theme
parks, museums and cultural attractions, have al-
ready visited T&T and held extensive discussions
with Chin on the project.
One of the main attractions will be the Main
Street, a re-creation of Frederick Street, downtown
Port-of-Spain, in the 1930s complete with a tram car.
Chin explained that the streets will reflect the rich
culture of Trinidad and there will be a Madame Tus-
saud's Wax Museum highlighting T&T's Carnival and
its history, the history of the steelpan and calypso.
There are also plans for a live entertainment the-
atre on the site.
Also, different streets highlighting the different
cultures of all the people that came to T&T and
settled including the Indians, Chinese, Africans,
Europeans and Syrians.
The development would also incorporate an aquar-
ium featuring the leatherback turtles, fishes of the
Caribbean and a coral reef.
There will also be a Ferris wheel and a Movi-
eTowne Eye, which is similar to the Orlando Eye.
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