Tewarie made this disclosure as he made a statement in the House of Representatives in response to concerns raised by the Opposition People’s National Movement (PNM) and other stakeholder groups about development taking place in the peninsula.
Tewarie also insisted that no “land-grabbing” was taking place in Chaguaramas under the watch of the People’s Partnership (PP) coalition. He claimed, “the true land-grabbing would have been done prior to 2010 which for years left Chaguaramas unregulated in the hands of a privileged few.”
Stating there were 21 farmers involved in the land dispute at Guave Road, Tewarie identified one of the farmers as “Jesus Christ” and said that farmer was cultivating ochroes, pimento and peas on five percent of one acre of land. Saying the Chaguaramas Development Authority (CDA) engaged all citizens claiming to be farmers individually, Tewarie said, “No farmer has a lease.”
He further indicated that “Jesus Christ”, Lawrence Paul and John Aquias were three “professed farmers” who were identified as “at-risk persons.” Tewarie said alternate accommodations were subsequently found for Paul and Aquias. He did not indicate if similar arrangements were found for the person named “Jesus Christ.” Rejecting claims of land-grabbing in Chaguaramas under the PP, Tewarie said the CDA granted several leases from 1974 to 2010 and many of these leases were “not in favour of the CDA and by extension, the people of Trinidad and Tobago.”
He said while the CDA is currently reviewing and regularising leases, there are tenants who have been refusing to pay market rent value for the leased land.
Tewarie indicated that 15 acres of waterfront property in Chaguaramas currently carries a monthly rent of $15,000.
Tewarie said traffic congestion into and out of Chaguaramas was not the result of the Chaguaramas boardwalk’s construction but “unregulated development along the Western Main Road.” He said a water taxi service from Port-of-Spain to Chaguaramas and a park and ride CNG-fuelled bus will be used as short-term measures to address this issue.
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar has promised the PP will examine the feasibility of constructing a causeway to Chaguaramas, if re-elected.
Tewarie said Government does not want the Military Museum to be relocated out of Chaguaramas but moved to another site in the peninsula. Stating the Museum has not agreed to the proposed relocation site, Tewarie said, “We will work with the Museum to resolve this.”
He also said the permission the development of the proposed water and amusement park, listed in the CDA’s master plan for Chaguaramas, was first granted in 2006 under the PNM.