Housing and the Environment Minister Dr Roodal Moonilal is to offer protesting farmers at Mausica Road, D'Abadie and Chaguanas financial compensation and an alternative location to produce their crops. Moonilal said that yesterday, minutes after returning home from London after a private visit over the Easter weekend. The farmers have been protesting against the Housing Development Corporation (HDC) using bulldozers to destroy their crops over the weekend. They have since taken legal action restraining the HDC from further destruction of their crops. Several acres of the lands used by farmers were bulldozed in order to construct houses.
On Tuesday, Bharath said he would intervene with a view to having the matter resolved,
Moonilal said yesterday it was "regrettable" the situation took the course it did and he was not in the country to respond immediately. He said while in London he spoke with Food Production Minister Vasant Bharath and "we are going to meet the farmers after the Cabinet meeting tomorrow (today)." Moonilal said the Government would be proposing adequate compensation to the farmers and also seeking to have them relocated to more productive lands. He said he would propose at today's meeting that the farmers or their representatives "accompany us on a site visit on Friday." He said the farmers also would have security of tenure if they agreed to relocate to an alternative location to produce their crops.
Moonilal said he was confident the farmers would accept the compensation and relocation. He said the Government was committed to resolving the matter in the interest of all concerned. The T&T Guardian understands the decision to serve notice to the "illegal" farmers were done with the approval of the authorities. Sources also say the matter was discussed at a recent meeting of the Cabinet. On Tuesday Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar ordered the bulldozing of farmers' crops across the country be halted immediately. The farmers protested in Port-of-Spain yesterday.