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posted 13 Sept 2013, 19:39 by Gerry Kangalee
Mr. Nirvan Maharaj, Attorney-at-Law, President General of the All Trinidad General Workers’ Trade Union is calling on the newly appointed Minister of Land and Marine Affairs Mr. Jairam Seemungal to cease and desist from making wild and unsubstantiated allegations concerning the distribution of the residential and two (2) acre Agricultural plots owed to the ex-Caroni workers.

The Union wishes to dispel the misconception and possibly the misinformation given to the Minister concerning the reasons for the delay in the distribution of the said leases. The goodly minister is well advised that in no way was the lapse in the distribution of leases the fault of the ex-Caroni workers as he seemed to indicate at the last lease distribution ceremony on 11th September, 2013 at Naparima Bowl, San Fernando.

Instead the reasons for the lack of distribution and preparation of leases falls squarely on the PNM government and the People’s Partnership government, both of whom breached the Deyalsingh Judgment and in the view of the Union continues to use and abuse the ex-caroni workers, treating them as mere political pawns.

The Union wishes to inform the Minister that instead of allowing technocrats with their own agendas to assist in the writing of his speeches he should instead find the time to speak and hear from the ex-caroni workers themselves. In fact, if the Minister wishes the All Trinidad Union can provide him with the copies of the Deyalsingh Judgment of 2008 and the breaches that this government and past governments engaged in. The Union can also supply the Minister with a document outlining the failure of the state agencies such as Caroni (1975) Limited and EMBD in providing proper infrastructural develop such as drainage, irrigation, crossings, ponds as was supposed to be done in order to facilitate a smooth transition for ex-caroni workers after the closure of the sugar industry.

We would like to inform the minister there are over 4000 ex-caroni worker who are still waiting for leases both agricultural and residential. There are workers that would have paid many years ago for their leases and have not yet received same and others are even unaware of where the plots are, that they would have been allocated. The minister should be aware that a license to enter undeveloped lands does not afford a farmer the security of tenture or allow him to engage in a meaningful way in agriculture. In addition, the minister should also be informed by his advisors that there are 1500 ex-caroni workers still to be allocated agricultural plots and many who have been allocated, dislocated and still to be reallocated. 
The Union is of the view the Minister should know better than to display the arrogance of standing on a platform and blame the ex-Caroni workers for the disdain and contempt with which they have been treated by the governments past and present.

The Union is extremely shocked and appalled at the audacity and impunity of the Minister in making such a statement and is calling on him to immediately apologise to the thousands of ex-caroni workers and their families who are legally entitled to these plots and who have been deliberately frustrated by the inability of the state agencies and politicians lack of will, to settle an issue over ten years old.

The Minister must be aware that it is the blood, sweat and tears of these people whom he insulted in the worst way, that laid the foundation for the party to which he belong to be in power. Perhaps the minister could ask for guidance from his older colleagues and also remember Tobago and Chaguanas West.

The Union is quite willing to provide the Minister with any further information he may desire. 


Nirvan Maharaj 
(Attorney at Law) 
President General