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Tewarie: ‘Jesus Christ’ among Chag ‘farmers’

Thursday, May 14, 2015

A person carrying the name “Jesus Christ” of no other place of abode was among eight people found to have been using a miniscule percentage of Chaguaramas acreage which they had been claiming to farm, according to a survey done by the Chaguaramas Development Authority (CDA). 

Planning Minister Dr Bhoe Tewarie gave the information in a statement to the Senate yesterday. He said he wished to clear up misinformation and unfounded allegations regarding projects within the Chaguaramas area. He said the CDA’s position was that no more than 11 per cent of the Chaguaramas land area would be developed and of this nine per cent was already occupied. 

He said Government was therefore only developing two per cent of Chaguaramas’s 1,500 acres currently and 89 per cent of Chaguaramas remained as a National Park which would be officially legislated as such. Tewarie also emphasised the beaches would remain open to the public. He said in Guave Road a land dispute involved a group of individuals claiming to be farmers with tenure.  

However, he noted when completed, the new Guave roadway would divert traffic away from the heavy pedestrian traffic currently being experienced at Williams Bay. He said between December 10 to 27, 2012, the CDA conducted a consultation and survey in the Guave area to determine land usage, identify people accessing the property and inform occupants of the plans to develop. 

A total of 21 farmers were identified. He added: “The investigation revealed the following information:
• “Cosmos Brewster (using ten per cent of two acres (melongene, tomatoes, peppers and cabbage).
• “Philogene St Martin (40 per cent of three acres — bananas, plantains and dasheen).
• “Lawrence Paul (five per cent of four acres — tomatoes, short crops).
• “Bert Jules (25 per cent of four acres — melongene, peppers, chive, bodie, cabbage).
• “Wayne Lett (30 per cent of four acres — dasheen, livestock, bananas).
• “Joseph Dragon (ten per cent of two acres — unkept plantain, banana).
• “Jesus Christ (five  per cent of one acre — ochroes, pimento, peas).
• ”Sarah P Whitman (ten per cent of two acres — peppers, cassava, plantains, barbadine).” 

Tewarie added: “Between December 10 to 20, 2012, the  CDA engaged all citizens claiming to be farmers individually. “No farmer has a lease. Notices were served and the occupiers were given a 90-day grace period to complete harvesting of any wild crops and vacate the land.“ He said three of the professed farmers — Paul, Jesus Christ and John Aquias — were identified as “at risk persons” living on site with no other place of abode.

“Mr Paul found abode with family and the CDA arranged for ‘Jesus Christ’ to stay at Living Waters Community in January 2014 where he could be rehabilitated. “The CDA assisted Mr Aquias in filling out his national pension application forms and requested the Ministry of the People to fast track his pension application. 

“Mr Aquias received his first pension cheque in early February 2014 and CDA was able to assist in finding low cost accommodation,” he added. In May 2014 the group initiated litigation against the CDA to stop Guave Road development work. On July 1, 2014, the High Court ruled in favour of CDA, advising CDA to proceed with planned development, it was noted. 

Tewarie added: “ The CDA has offered alternative farming options through the Ministry of Agriculture Land Programme. This is being processed by that ministry.”


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