What stared as a march against the development of land by farmers in the Chaguaramas area, yesterday cascaded into a forum where some citizens could air their grievances about the state of the country's affairs.
Approximately 200 people marched from the Chaguaramas Hotel and Convention Centre to Parliament at the International Waterfront Centre, Port-of-Spain, to air their concerns over the land matter and other issues.
A few marched for what they believed was their land. A few marched for the preservation of what they believed was a historical land mark. A few marched for equal access for all. And some marched against the Government.
"This morning is a very important morning and day in the history of the people of Trinidad and Tobago. In 1960 there was the march for Chaguaramas and that was a struggle led by Dr (Eric) Williams to reclaim this piece of land for the people of Trinidad and Tobago.
"Today, more than 60 years later, the people of Trinidad and Tobago have to fight to reclaim once again what is ours," said David Abdulah, leader of the Movement for Social Justice.
Yesterday's march stemmed from an ongoing row between farmers of the Chaguaramas area and the Chaguaramas Development Authority.
Farmers have expressed their grievances about being displaced from land they cultivated for many years.
However, other issues like the development of Chaguaramas, the possible destruction of the convention centre and full access to the Chaguaramas area were among the grouses protesters had yesterday.
The protesters expressed concerns that the Government had sold numerous acers of land in Chaguaramas to private owners.
Abdulah claimed there was governmental interference and nepotism with the business matters of Chaguaramas.
Too much history
Like the protesters, Abdulah said the convention centre should not be torn down because it is a valuable part of Caribbean history.
"Big business people getting this Convention Centre where the Treaty of Chaguaramas was signed, bringing into existence Caricom, and the revised treaty of Caricom was also signed here, bringing into being the Caribbean Single Market and Economy.
"This location has history not only for the people of Carenage, not only for people of Trinidad and Tobago, but for the entire region, the entire Caribbean," Abdulah said.
Members of the Independent Liberal Party (ILP), Movement for Social Justice (MSJ) and citizens from around the country also gathered to march in solidarity with the residents from Chaguaramas.
"This is not a political march. It is not even a march for the trade unions, or job security. This is a march to preserve the history of the country. This is a march for fight for the inequality that is taking place in the country," ILP leader Jack Warner said.
Many senior citizens, some of whom marched with Dr Williams in the 60s, marched from Carenage to Port-of-Spain.
David Wilson, a 63-year-old man from El Dorado, Tunapuna, made the entire walk from Chaguaramas to Port-of-Spain on crutches. Wilson said the crutches was for a three-year-old leg injury, but he had to make the march because he was not happy with what was going on in the country.
CDA only leasing
In response to the protest, CDA CEO Joycelin Hargreaves told the T&T Guardian that according to the Chaguaramas Development Authority Act the land cannot be sold. However, it can be leased for up to 30 years.
Hargreaves also confirmed that the CDA planned to turn the Convention Centre into a four-star hotel. As such, she said there will be a lot of work done on it and there was no guarantee the original buildings will be preserved.
She added that the CDA has been in the process of leasing out land to investors, but said she could not specify due to legal reasons.
Responding to the farmers' complaints, Hargreaves said according to the CDA Act, land in Chaguaramas can be leased, and if the farmers have proof that they have a lease they should bring it forward.
Hoping to assuage the fears of the protesters, Hargreaves said the CDA's goal is to provide an open and accessible area that will be enjoyed by all.