The United National Congress (UNC) knocked Minister of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries, Clarence Rambharat for seeming to put the final nail in the coffin of Caroni (1975) Ltd.
In a release sent to the media on Friday, responding to a Newsday report which indicated that the Brechin Castle Estate and Usine Ste Madeline were to be demolished, Oropouche West representative Vidia Gayadeen-Gopeesingh said questions are being raised on the move.
She said the move may have been accelerated on hearing that Opposition Leader, Kamla Persad Bissessar declared she intends to re-open the sugar industry should she return as prime minister.
“Perhaps it is this fear that has given rise to the frantic pace to accelerate the demolition and dismantling of the remaining assets of the now defunct company.”
She said the Sevilla Great House is on the asset register of the National Trust, which houses the Sugar Archives Centre & the Sevilla Sugar Museum, which are all on the Brechin Castle Estate.
She added that Usine Ste Madeline also has functioning bungalows and are owned by the Caroni Householders Association, who are currently in the process of taking Government to court.
“The Usine estate’s other facility and asset is its golf course, the only one in South Trinidad as all other golfing facilities are in North and North West Trinidad,” the release said.
Gayadeen Gopeesingh also knocked the TT Scrap Iron Dealers Association who wrote Agriculture Minister Clarence Rambharat to be the “preferred bidder” in the removal of the scrap iron after the demolition.
Gayadeen-Gopeesingh also pointed out that no public tendering had taken place.
“What we are seeing is the continuing efforts to reward the friends, family and financiers of the PNM, as word has come to us that the lands at Usine Ste. Madeline especially, are earmarked for a business enterprise for the select few. The profiteering continues under this Rowley regime that has no concern for the past, present or future of this country.”
Newsday reached out to the Agriculture Minister, but he said the project was being handled by the Rural Development Company, whose line minister is Kazim Hosein.
Hosein redirected Newsday to director of the Rural Development Company, Patricia Alexis, who said via whatsapp message that the Sugar Manufacturing Company Limited, engaged them to conduct the demolition.
“The SMCL is better suited to advise the Newsday on the questions,” she said.