THE Cabinet has agreed to grant leases for state lands in Chaguaramas to Guave Road farmers who have been in a legal dispute with the Chaguaramas Development Authority (CDA) since 2015.
A statement from the Planning Ministry said the Guave Road lands will be excised from the original parcel of land and placed under the control of the Agriculture Ministry.
Planning and Development Minister Camille Robinson-Regis said the 1974 Chaguaramas Development Plan prohibited the CDA from granting agricultural leases to farmers for what has become known as the Guave Road Triangle. She said the Guave Road farmers have been in constant occupation of approximately 122.6 acres of the land in excess of 30 years. Robinson-Regis also said some farmers had occupied lands for over 50 years, and had come to legitimately expect continued occupation and ownership.
While the matter between the Guave Road Farmers Association and the CDA is still ongoing, Robinson-Regis said both parties had previously agreed to enter into mediation proceedings. She added the the court has been informed that settlement discussions were taking place, and while the matter was a vexing one, the settlement was long in coming. She said she was mindful of the contribution the farmers made to the country’s food basket and grateful for their patience while the matter was being sorted out.
Cabinet’s decision clears the way for a proper survey to be done and a survey plan constructed for the approximately 122.6 acres known as the Guave Road Triangle. Robinson-Regis said upon completion of the survey, Cabinet will receive a joint submission from the Planning and Agriculture Ministries for the subdivision, allocation and distribution of the land to the affected farmers.