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Lee Sing: WASA lands belong to city
Neither the Foreshore, Invaders Bay nor the lands the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) are attempting to take ownership of in Cocorite can be developed without consultation and approval of the Port-of-Spain City Corporation. This was the stand taken by Port-of-Spain mayor Louis Lee Sing during a press conference yesterday at City Hall. Lee Sing called the conference to speak on the issue on controversial lands situated in Westmoorings, Cocorite, where WASA owns several wells. WASA had released a statement on Saturday claiming ownership and sole responsibility of the lands under the WASA Act of 1965.
Lee Sing, however, argued that “having a few wells” on the land did not give WASA ownership of the entire property. “WASA has wells in the Queen’s Park Savannah and King George V Park, why do they not claim ownership of those lands?” asked Lee Sing. Lee Sing maintained that the land in question belonged to the city of Port-of-Spain and as such could not just be given to WASA. If WASA continued on its current path, Lee Sing said:, “this is still a democratic society and the courts still hold supremacy to Parliament.” Lee Sing also questioned WASA’s statement on the number of acres on the property. WASA, in its release, had claimed the parcel of land contained 23 acres. Lee Sing disputed this figure, claiming that the public record at the City Corporation stated that the property held 33 acres.
“Where is the missing ten acres?” asked Lee Sing. Lee Sing also referred to an advertisement in a daily newspaper in which the public had been invited by the Ministry of Planning and the Economy to indicate interest in land at Invaders Bay. He said: “Invaders Bay belongs to the city of Port-of-Spain and yet here is development being proposed without any discussion with the corporation, these lands cannot be developed without the assent of the city corporation.” In a brief telephone interview Minister of Planning Bhoe Tewarie said as far as he was aware Invaders Bay was not vested in the city of Port-of-Spain.
He said he intended, however, to speak to the mayor about not only the Invaders Bay development but also the development of the city of Port-of-Spain and had indicated this to Lee Sing.