Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar said it would be inappropriate for her to comment on the farmers/HDC controversy before being briefed by her ministers. She said so in response to questions from reporters on the mater at a news conference at the Diplomatic Lounge, Piarco International Airport on Sunday night. Persad-Bissessar and a T&T delegation, including Foreign Affairs Minister Dr Surujrattan Rambachan and Trade and Industry Minister Stephen Cadiz returned from Brazil on Sunday night.. Farmers' crops at D'Abadie and Chaguanas have been bulldozed by the Housing Development Corporation over the Easter weekend to allow for the construction of houses.
The farmers are objecting to this move, saying it was prime agricultural land which should not be used for housing. Farmers have been demanding a meeting with the Prime Minister to resolve the issue, especially after last Thursday's meeting with Housing and the Environment Minister Dr Roodal Moonilal did not resolve the matter.
Persad-Bissessar said it would be inappropriate to say if she would be meeting with the farmers before getting the details on the matter from her Cabinet Ministers, Moonilal and Food Production Minister Vasant Bharath. Meanwhile, commenting on her trip to Brazil, the PM said consideration was now being given to establish direct flights between Brazil and T&T. "We need to explore that possibility," she added.
The PM said over the past 12 months T&T had jumped 16 points on the World's Economic Forum Technology Index. She said the distribution of laptops to students of secondary schools impacted positively on that development.