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CDA VERSUS CHAGUARAMAS FARMERS

posted 12 Mar 2014, 10:25 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 12 Mar 2014, 10:38 ]

GUAVE ROAD FARMERS VS THE CHAGARAMAS DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY

Press Release From the Guave Road Farmers Association\


Currently there are some 40 or more farmers engaged in Farming the lands at Chaguaramas (hereinafter called the Lands). The Lands being farmed cover a triangle bounded by Guave Road to the East and North, the Western Main Road to the South and the Cuesa River to the West. There is also farming activity on Lands to the east of Guave Road.

There is evidence to indicate that the current farmers or their ancestors/beneficiaries were farming the lands on Guave Road since the early 1950s or before. It should be noted that this was before Independence, before the CDA came into existence and during the time when the Americans were in occupancy of the Chaguaramas Peninsular.

The available evidence is there are Farmers alive today who were actually farming these lands or assisting their parents to do so in the early 1950s. There are also authenticated aerial photographs (see copy attached) which show drains and other signs of cultivation on the lands. We are also researching records of the US Army Corps to find reference therein to such farming activity.

The Americans occupying Chaguaramas at the time the farmers were on the lands knew of their presence and permitted it and there are persons alive today who will testify to this and the fact that they actually were permitted to walk through the security gate located immediately after Alcoa to get to their lands.

These items of evidence are sufficient in Law for the farmers to have acquired rights to the land and to claim these rights by way of adverse possession. The CDA knows this and their recent aggressive and illegal action is an attempt to remove evidence that would lend support to the farmers’ claim of adverse possession. There are however comprehensive video/photographic records - with dates, of all the CDA actions including what existed on the ground before they destroyed it, how it was destroyed and what exists there now.

Danny Solomon and Bhoe Tewarie destroyed and levelled buildings and the farmers’ crops, tools and equipment in order to achieve their aim of removing evidence of farming activity on the ground today. The other items of evidence they cannot destroy and that together of the photographic record we have of Hugh Wooding Thomas and his Team in action will show all they have done as being quite futile - if not criminal.

Successive Boards at the CDA have tried to deal in various ways with the farmers’ occupancy of the land. One of them even entered into discussion with the farmers to recognise and regularise their situation. The current Board led by Danny Solomon who is instructed by Bhoe Tewarie is the only one that has gone about destroying the farmers’ crops, buildings and tools/equipment and forcefully – with armed personnel, preventing the farmers from getting onto their lands.
On the morning of Sunday 23rd February 2014, a crew of CDA employees and “contractors” moved onto land occupied by members of this association and destroyed crops some of which were bearing and ready to be harvested. The crew was led by one Hugh Wooding Thomas who is a senior employee of the Authority. We were able to capture extensive video footage showing Hugh Wooding Thomas and members of his crew in the act. We have developed details of the damage done on that day and will be taking legal action against the CDA and the persons involved (see below previous e-mail sent out on that incident).

On the Morning of Carnival Monday – the 3rd March 2014, before 6 am a similar crew also led by Mr. Hugh Wooding Thomas came to the lands and demolished some sixteen building/sheds owned by the farmers and took away several items belonging to the Farmers. The damage done is yet to be estimated but information relative to that is currently being gathered for the purpose of also taking legal action. Needless to add we have extensive video footage of that incident also. The leader of the gang in this recent incident was also Hugh Wooding Thomas and the actions were carried out by a Company from Montrose Chaguanas carrying the name of TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO SECURITY SERVICES”. Their e-mail is given as <info@ttsecurity>. We are doing some checks on this Company.

On the morning of the 6th March 2014 a demolition crew of trucks and heavy equipment moved in and destroyed what was left of the farmer property. They loaded up and carted away all the farmers’ tools/equipment and other items which were not taken away or destroyed during the raid a few days before. The damage done during these three raids carried out by the CDA resulted in losses to the farmers amounting to well over $800,000.

Among the items taken were whackers and other motorised and expensive items of equipment. There is only one possible explanation as to what the CDA and its people would have done with these.

The attached email/letter was e-mailed - on the date shown, to Danny Solomon (the Chairman of the CDA) and other persons indicated. The destruction of the farmers’ crops, sheds and tools/equipment took place immediately this was sent.

No prior Notice – written or otherwise for any of the three raids was given to the Farmers. The date and time of the three assaults by the CDA would suggest that they moved like thieves in the night – quite unbecoming of persons acting on behalf of the State.

The farmers are current in discussions with their Attorneys regarding the filing an injunction restraining the CDA in its aggression and acts of destruction. They also will be registering a claim to the lands by way of adverse possession. The farmers wrote to the CDA advising them of this as a way to having the Court decide on the issues and expecting the CDA as a supposedly law abiding Statutory Body to agree. The CDA - as the date on the e-mail/letter shows, moved immediately on receiving it, to pre-empt and influence any intervention/decision of the Court and indeed to remove any evidence that would have informed its deliberations i.e. by destroying the farmers crops, sheds, etc. and bulldozing all else.

CDs with extensive coverage by videos/photographs showing the actions of the CDA while they were being committed - including the faces of the perpetrators and their vehicles, are available on request. They are however very large and impossible to send via e-mail.


 The Guave Road Farmers Association 684 5998, ear@tstt.net.tt



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