OPPOSITION Senator Gerald Ramdeen has expressed concern about an incident where land was “given away” by the Commissioner of State Lands without any approvals. He raised the issue while contributing to Senate debate on Tuesday on the Registration of Titles to Land bill.
He referred to a letter by Alana Haynes to the Commissioner of State Lands dated August 7, in which she spoke about her door being kicked down in Morvant, and being thrown out by a relative and land owner in Morvant and her possessions thrown outside. Haynes requested a parcel of land to house herself and her family as she was homeless and had nowhere to house her possessions. Ramdeen said the letter from the Commissioner of State Lands dated September 15, one month and one week after, Haynes would be granted a licence to occupy a lot of State land in Five Rivers, Arouca as temporary relief for residential purposes. Ramdeen said he hoped with the legislation wrongdoing would also be brought to the attention of the authorities. “If a citizen...can write to a public servant vested with the authority under the State Lands Act to administer all of the State lands that belong to the people and citizens Trinidad and Tobago and without any procurement, without any search, without any research, no Cabinet approval, no ministerial approval you can take State land and give it away willy nilly I hope when we all act in the public interest those who have committed these kinds of acts are brought to justice.”
Agriculture Minister Clarence Rambharat later told the media in February 2018, he submitted a report to the Prime Minister on two matters including the Haynes matter and he submitted a further report on the matter in April 2018.
Ramdeen in his contribution also said the legislation needed some teeth to assist the more than 250,000 squatters and it was not only about condominiums in Bayshore, Westmoorings, Chaguanas and Maraval but also the people squatting in Windsor Park and other areas.