For the past few months, curious observers would have noticed the systematic dismantling of the buildings on the compound of what was once the Cooperative Citrus Growers Association (CCGA) on the Eastern Main Road in Laventille.
Business Day has made several attempts to find out who owns the buildings, who is tearing them down and what is the plan for the area. One senior police officer from the Port of Spain Division said they had received reports of vandalism and theft since the compound was abandoned late last year. Three people were arrested when they were caught in the act by members of the Inter Agency Task Force (IATF) earlier this month.
SM Jaleel and Co Ltd acquired the Trinidad Fruit Juice range of brands from CCGA in 2008. While SM Jaleel held a lease for the property, that lease ended in the middle of 2018. An official of the company said the property has been returned to the CCGA. The property falls within the boundaries of the San Juan Laventille Regional Corporation, but according to chairman Anthony Roberts, the corporation does not own it, nor is it aware of who is behind its destruction.
The CCGA’s existence pre-dates 1937. The association was one of five agricultural groups responsible for the selection of members of the Board of Agriculture of TT. This information is contained in the Department of Agriculture Ordinance 1937.