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Author Topic: This is what the racist PP government is doing to African farmers in Chaguaramas  (Read 9931 times)

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Offline Socapro

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Tucker Valley plans revealed
« Reply #30 on: March 12, 2015, 09:36:44 AM »
This article gives some interesting history about the Guave Road farmers in Chaguaramas. Take a read folks.

Tucker Valley plans revealed
By Yvonne Baboolal (T&T Guardian)
Sunday 1st july, 2007

Government plans to build beachfront houses, to a value of $400 million, on a triangle of land at Guave Road, Tucker Valley, in Chaguaramas, president of the Guave Road Farmers Association, Joseph Richardson said Friday.

Richardson said the Housing Development Corporation is using the same tactics in Bagatelle that it used on Chaguaramas farmers when they sought to move them off the land in 2005.

Government has ordered Bagatelle residents to vacate the area to make way for a sporting complex. Bagatelle residents have charged, however, that Government has a bigger project in mind for the area, including a major housing development.

Richardson said Guave Road farmers, once supporters of Housing Minister Dr Keith Rowley, their MP, have now become activists against the Government.

Houses for Guave Road

Recalling the Chaguaramas issue, he said a National Housing Authority (NHA), now the Housing Development Corporation (HDC) plan, dated February 5, 2006 revealed a “conceptual layout” for a multi-family housing project in Guave Road.

The plan was submitted to the Environmental Management Authority (EMA) last year for a Certificate of Environmental Clearance (CEC).

Its shows the development of over 40 acres of land in Chaguaramas, bordered by Guave Road, referred to as Tucker Valley Road in the plan, Macqueripe and the Western Main Road.

The housing project will comprise townhouses and single family units. The NHA plan also shows a nursery school, an area for community use and open spaces.

Noel Garcia, managing director of the HDC, was appointed chairman of the Chaguaramas Development Authority (CDA) in early 2006.

On October 6 last year, the HDC held a public consultation with Guave Road farmers at the Carenage Community Complex on its housing plan for the area.

HDC’s Michelle Mischier-Boyd told the farmers of a critical housing shortage in T&T and that the Government had embarked on a housing programme unmatched in the hemisphere.

Paul Thompson of Conrad Douglas and Associates, project manager for the Chaguaramas development, said the EMA wanted an Environmental Impact Assessment done before it could issue a certificate for the project to proceed.

Thompson said the HDC had applied for a CEC on June 13, 2005.

But Richardson said environmentalists and even former CDA manager, Ian Gianetti, who was present, openly expressed their objection to the housing plan.

They cited increased traffic, a water shortage, environmental issues and duress to farmers as some of the reasons.

Richardson claimed that last year there was an attempt to burn the hills of Tucker Valley during the dry season to allegedly clear the land. But he said the rain saved the day and the fire did not spread very far.

The area, deemed environmentally sensitive wetlands, has been cultivated by 71 farmers since 1951, most of whom come from Carenage, L’Anse Mitan, Diego Martin, Point Cumana and Laventille.

A notice appeared in the newspapers in 2005 from the CDA ordering farmers off the land within 21 days for the construction of a sporting facility.

Richardson said, however, they later discovered that the Ministry of Housing was really behind the notice and there were plans for a major housing development in the area.

“Just like Bagatelle,” he noted.

He said farmers were maintaining their stance that they were not moving from the area.

He said in March last year, Housing Minister Dr Keith Rowley met with the farmers during a walkabout in the area.

“Just like Bagatelle, he promised that they would look at relocating us in an area further down Chaguaramas but nobody took him on.”

“Just a little six months again and Rowley will be out,” he speculated.

Richardson, in his 40s now, said he began planting the land with his mother at age 12. He and his 19-year-old son now cultivate four acres in Guave Road.

“This year we have mostly ochroes and pumpkin,” he said.

Richardson said Guave Road farmers sell their vegetables at the lowest price because they don’t have to put out any money for irrigation.

“We plant the wetlands in the dry season and there’s water all the time.

“When everybody else is selling ochroes at four for $1 we sell it at 50 for $10.”

His farmers sell the produce within their communities and to supermarkets.

Clyde Nicholas, in his 80s, boasts of being the first farmer in Guave Road. He said he has been planting food crops in the area for 50 years.

Not for sale

At a farmers’ meeting at the Carenage Recreation Ground last year, Nicholas said he always voted for Rowley but that the Minister was “now overplaying his authority.”

“You could see the arrogance,” he said.“Now they want to throw you out to build houses.”

Another Guave Road farmer, David St Clair, during a farmers’ forum at the Learning Resource Centre in Couva in July last year, called on Agriculture Minister Jarette Narine to step down.

St Clair objected to the HDC’s plans to use “grade A” agricultural lands for housing.

“While I agree that we need housing, we can’t eat bricks. We need food to sustain us. The matter is very simple. It’s a political problem,” he said.

Richardson recalled that in 1999 under the UNC government, a tripartite committee, comprising the CDA, the Agriculture Ministry and the farmers was set up to look into the agricultural aspect of the matter.

“The land was surveyed and plotted out and all the farmers were allocated designated plots.

“We were in the process of being regularised but we never really looked for certificates of comfort because we knew that we could never own the land,” the farmer said.

Tracing the history of the land, he said it once belonged to the Huggins family who had bought it from the Tuckers, who were plantation owners.

Richardson said his mother, Nelcia Richardson, and other Carenage residents, cultivated parcels of land but when World War II started, they were forced to abandon the gardens when the land was leased to the Americans.

“The American soldiers used to buy vegetables from the farmers’ shed in Chaguaramas,” he recalled.

“The soldiers eventually allowed the farmers to go back to their gardens but some of them used to be so scared, they used to pass over the hill from Carenage to get to the land.”

Richardson said in 1976, the Government got back Chaguaramas from the Americans and the CDA was established to govern the area with its own laws and security.

“Dr Eric Williams, PNM prime minister at the time, received Chaguaramas on behalf of the people of T&T. This meant the land there could not be sold. It was for all to enjoy and none to own.

“That’s why the CDA made it into a national park.”

He questioned the legality of the Housing Ministry’s plans for the area.

“When they build houses, are they going to give people leases for the land. Will the people never be able to own them?” he asked.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2015, 09:41:09 AM by Socapro »
De higher a monkey climbs is de less his ass is on de line, if he works for FIFA that is! ;-)

Offline Socapro

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Farmers on Chaguaramas development project: Eco-disaster in the making
« Reply #31 on: March 12, 2015, 10:11:23 AM »
This article gives some interesting history about the Guave Road farmers in Chaguaramas. Take a read folks.

Eco-disaster in the making
Farmers on Chaguaramas development project

By Charles Kong Soo (T&T Guardian)
Published: Sunday, January 4, 2015

A Guave Road farmer protests the destruction of crops by the CDA during a demonstration last year.

Guave Road farmers are calling on Planning Minister Dr Bhoendradatt Tewarie and the Chaguaramas Development Authority (CDA) to reveal to the public the real scope of phase two of the Chaguaramas Development Project. President of the Guave Road Farmers Association, Joseph Richardson, is making the call on behalf of his members, who claim that the land area scheduled for development is much bigger than what the public is being told.
Speaking with the Sunday Guardian on Wednesday, Richardson said, “What the CDA didn’t mention or include in the CEC (certificate of environmental clearance) they received from the EMA (Environmental Management Authority) was the 100 acres of Wetlands 55.
“They claim that Wetlands 55 is just the Cuesa River only, which is 40 feet across, but the wetlands extend over 800 metres from the Cuesa River heading east to the Guave Road entrance on the Western Main Road and they’re shielding that from the public. “If it was mentioned that so many acres of vital ecosystems of mangroves and prime agricultural land would be destroyed for housing and recreational development, work could not have started on the project.”
He added, “Most people don’t know that mangrove forests provide protection against beach erosion, storms, tsunamis and floods. “The tsunami that hit Asia in 2005, there were no deaths in areas where there were mangrove forests compared to those areas without coverage that suffered massive casualties.”
In advancing his argument, Richardson said there were two sluice gates built by the US soldiers during World War II at the road next to the Chaguaramas Boardwalk that were now covered with large rocks and plants. He said the sluice gates’ purpose was to drain the wetlands, which was a catchment area that collected water during the rainy season.
He said when the water reached a certain level, like three feet, it was gradually released into the sea and the sluice gates were so designed that water from the wetlands could go out but seawater could not enter. He said if the sluice gates were covered with concrete and the wetlands filled to begin housing development, not only would the wetlands, beachfront and major parts of the peninsula be flooded, but traffic chaos would ensue and families would be displaced.
“It will be like the Red Bull Flugtag 2011 traffic nightmare every day in Chaguaramas,” he said. Richardson said the farmers believed the CDA was catering to the elite and to foreigners. He said the CDA wanted access to the entire front of Tucker Valley for its grand plan, which entailed creating an exclusive area for the business elite. This included restaurants, resorts jutting out of the Boardwalk, cable cars in the air, a game park, water park and a golf course, he said.
He pointed out that the CDA was very clever in its operations, doing the project in incremental stages—phase one was the Boardwalk to please the “common people” followed by its extension and the mega development projects for the super rich. Richardson claimed a jetty scheduled for construction not too far off from the Alcoa jetty was in reality a windbreaker for the yachts the CDA wanted to cater for inside the Carenage basin.
Tewarie: Concerns weighed in plans
Planning Minister Dr Bhoendradatt Tewarie says the concerns of the farmers, residents and special interest groups had been taken into consideration and the current construction work being done in the peninsula would ease the congestion in the long run.
Speaking to the Sunday Guardian, Tewarie said, “Ironically, the question posed addresses precisely why the Guave Extension Road project was envisaged in the first place, that is, to reduce traffic congestion and make for a safer, easier access into and out of Chaguaramas.
“But access to and from Chaguaramas will continue to be a problem until we build an alternative route and this is what we’re considering now. But it can only get to the consultation and possibly design stage this year. The actual road to and from Chaguaramas will be a second-term project.”
He added, “The CDA has conducted a careful development plan for the peninsula that considers so many needs, the meticulous preservation of the natural environment, the allocation of the best areas for agricultural purposes, the optimisation of road networks, the people-centred development of the community, the creation of thousands of jobs, the execution of world-class recreational facilities and the ideal of making Chaguaramas an area of opportunity for all.”
Tewarie said he met with consultants recently and gave his input and he was satisfied they would have a people-centred plan for the sustainable development of Chaguaramas very soon. Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar opened phase two of the boardwalk project at Chaguaramas on December 18, while a group of Guave Road farmers protested a short distance away on the Carenage Main Road.
She said phase two would entail an extended boardwalk, activity pond and food court. Work to develop Chaguaramas to its full potential would continue with the CDA’s plans, she said, which included world-class marinas, hotels, waterfront restaurants, an amusement park and a golf course resort.
The PM said several upgrades were also scheduled, such as the Chaguaramas Hotel and Convention Centre, a golf course to meet international standards, Chagville Beach rehabilitation and the reafforestation of hills and green spaces.
She said the objections to the project did not matter, as plans for Chaguaramas would bring the peninsula back to the people. The PM said the Government was aware of the traffic woes in Chaguaramas and “novel” access points were included in the plans.
De Verteuil: Brace for traffic, flooding
With the onset of the new year, upcoming Carnival activities, coupled with development works at Guave Road, Tucker Valley, mean residents and visitors alike should brace for traffic gridlock in the northwest peninsula. This is the view of Marc de Verteuil, a director of the Papa Bois Conservation group.
Speaking with the Sunday Guardian at Guave Road, while construction work was going on, De Verteuil said the CDA’s intent was to build a 6.75 acre car park, farmers’ market and tramway. Construction of all this infrastructure, he said, was a logistical transport nightmare in the making. He said Chaguaramas already suffered from daily traffic jams that could take an hour or more to navigate and there was no transport or infrastructure capacity to allow for additional people entering the peninsula.
De Verteuil said 21st-century mass transport was needed to fulfil Chaguaramas’ transit needs. He said flooding could also compound traffic problems in the area.
Just last month, the CDA issued an apology for the traffic congestion due to the infrastructural drainage and water works being carried out in Chaguaramas to alleviate flooding that had become commonplace.
He said the CDA’s plan included the repaving and expansion of roads, construction of a bicycle path, a tramway, a farmers’ market and a “frighteningly massive” 27,300-square-metre car park, approximately 6.75 acres, which would destroy the ambiance of the area. He said for all intents and purposes, Guave Road was a part of Tucker Valley, an area rich in biodiversity and of huge importance for recreation.
De Verteuil said this was simply the wrong kind of development for this particular location. He said Tucker Valley—where there wre red howler monkeys and ocelots, among a plethora of other animals—was turning into a suburban park for Port-of-Spain. He said the area was part of the World War II naval base and represented a wild area close to the capital city of T&T.
Tucker Valley unique
De Verteuil said Tucker Valley was unique and irreplaceable, as well as popular, because it was natural and easily accessible. He said it was a major part of what made Chaguaramas a popular recreation area and Guave Road was the first phase of a creeping development into Tucker Valley. He said he was not opposed to sustainable development, but the planned project was not the ecotourism that was required but rather was a zoning mistake of the first order.
De Verteuil said there was enough unused land in Chaguaramas outside of Tucker Valley where low-impact high-rise car parks could be built. He said Tucker Valley should be declared a national park in order to protect it. Many people falsely believed that development was not allowed in Tucker Valley, he said, but there was no legislation to prevent it.
He said he was inviting concerned citizens and users of Chaguaramas to form an independent lobby group so that all stakeholders would be adequately represented. De Verteuil can be contacted by e-mail at: marc@papaboisconservation.org

The Sunday Guardian’s queries regarding the concerns of Chaguaramas residents, farmers and environmentalists were also sent to the CDA and the EMA which did not respond.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2015, 10:13:55 AM by Socapro »
De higher a monkey climbs is de less his ass is on de line, if he works for FIFA that is! ;-)

Offline Socapro

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CDA Board member axed over Facebook posting
« Reply #32 on: March 17, 2015, 09:09:33 PM »
This story is related to why the Guave Road farmers are being victimized and chased off their farm land.

CDA Board member axed over Facebook posting
By the Multimedia Desk (T&T Express)
Story Created: Mar 5, 2015 at 9:14 PM ECT

Jaishima Leladharsingh, CDA Board Member, forced to resign for racist remarks.

MEMBER of the Board of the Chaguaramas Development Authority (CDA) Jaishima Leladharsingh has resigned with immediate effect, after being called upon to do so by the Minister of Planning and Sustainable Development, Bhoe Tewarie.The resignation was disclosed in a press statement issued by the ministry on Tuesday. Leladharsingh was axed as a result of comments he made in Facebook postings that date to April 2014. The following is the the statement issued by Tewarie -

Minister of Planning and Sustainable Development, Senator Dr. the Honourable Bhoendradatt Tewarie has called for and has received the resignation of Mr. Jaishima Leladharsingh from the Board of the Chaguaramas Development Authority with immediate effect.

Over what can only be described as objectionable and reprehensible statements made on a social media platform, the Minister takes the position that such behavior is unacceptable in a civilized, multi-ethnic society such as ours, and this action is meant to make the point that divisive statements such as these will not be tolerated under any circumstances regardless of situation.

The Minister emphasizes that Trinidad & Tobago is a model of plurality and racial harmony for the entire world to see and emulate, and calls on all the people of this nation to reject at every turn any any attempt to divide us, especially through race and religion.

Senator Dr. the Honourable
Bhoendradatt Tewarie
« Last Edit: March 17, 2015, 09:25:00 PM by Socapro »
De higher a monkey climbs is de less his ass is on de line, if he works for FIFA that is! ;-)