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posted 26 Apr 2011, 12:20 by Gerry Kangalee

Seven days before the savage Easter Monday destruction of agricultural crops at D'Abadie (and Chaguanas), Terrance Haywood, President of the National FoodCrop Farmers' Association (NFFA) wrote Housing and the Environment Minister Roodal Moonilal and copied the letter to Prime Minister Persad-Bissessar and Food Production Minister Vasant Bharath 

In the letter Haywood called for: "genuine dialogue with all the stakeholders involved ... to achieve Government’s objectives of affordable housing and food security without having to compromise one or the other."

One week later the tractors moved on to the land and engaged in an orgy of destruction that left the nation shocked and furious.

April 18, 2011


Dr. Roodal Monilal

Minister of Housing and the Environment

44-46 South Quay

Port of Spain


Dear Honourable Minister

Re: Pineapple Smith Lands

                Further to our meeting of March 16, 2011 on the above matter, please be advised that the Executive of the NFFA met with the farmers involved on at least two occasions and conducted site visits in order to work out a position.  Our discussions revealed the following:

-          There are four (4) farmers in occupation of these lands for over thirty years 

-          The acreage amounts to 73 acres approximately.

-          Crops grown include a range of vegetables, food crops and tree crops.

-          Records obtained from Land Taxes for the entire 73 acres have been paid up to 2010.

-          The farmers have made several attempts dating as far back as 1980, to have their tenency regularised

The position of the NFFA is as follows:

1.       The farmers have invested many   years of labour and experience to bring these lands from simply arable to the prime farmlands that they are today.  These farmers have gained intricate knowledge of the layout, drainage and soil composition of these prime agricultural lands.  Relocation to any other land would require starting from scratch in these areas – a difficult proposition for anyone who has invested several years in the laborious vocation that farming is.

2.       Relocation of these farmers from their prime agricultural properties would also send a signal to other farmers nationally  that several years’ investment in farming can be destroyed with a singular policy decision, thereby discouraging them and other potential farmers from giving serious consideration to farming and the food security that it brings to our nation.

3.       In light of the inflationary pressures that high food prices put on us locally, prime agricultural lands must not be used for housing especially more so when suitable non – agricultural sites are available in close proximity .   Our government must keep its promise of respecting our farmers and consulting stakeholders before taking decisions that will have negative impact on the food security of our country.

4.       The NFFA has been in consultation with the residents of Crescent Gardens and Santa Monica Gardens and all agreed that genuine dialogue with all the stakeholders involved is necessary to achieve Government’s objectives of affordable housing and food security without having to compromise one or the other.


We look forward to an early and amicable settlement of this matter.


Yours faithfully



Terrance Haywood


c.c.  Mrs. Kamla Persad- Bissessar – Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago

        Mr. Vasant Bharath – Minister of Food Production, Lands Marine Affairs

Gerry Kangalee,
26 Apr 2011, 12:30