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Wednesday 19 September 2018
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Chaguaramas landowner arrested

AUGUSTIN NOEL, head of the Chaguaramas Land Owners’ committee was yesterday arrested after he was caught defacing a concrete pillar in front of the Aluminium Company of America’s facility in Chaguaramas.

Noel was seen pounding a large nail into the concrete slab marking the entrance to the old US Naval Base at Chaguaramas. There have been protests by landowners in recent time over the return of land leased to the US Government by the United Kingdom in 1941 during World War II.

Noel climbed on top of the pillar and began hammering at it while he yelled that he was not going to stop until the sign was destroyed. However, he did not complete his plan as he was handcuffed and taken away by officers who tried but failed to reason with him.

Part of the sign that he attempted to destroy read “Naval Operating Base... boundary line, by base lease agreement.”

The frustrated man said he would not stop fighting for the ten acres of land in Tucker Valley on which he was born. He stressed that a court order given in 2004, mandated that he could use five acres of the land. However, he has not been able to “set foot there.”

Noel has been fighting the cause for the last 24 years but yesterday was joined by other landowners who claimed their forefathers previously occupied various parts of Chaguaramas.

Another landowner, Natalie Gonzales said that she was a descendent of JJ Ribero who owned 109 acres near a marine business in Chaguaramas. Gonzales gave an overview of their problem and included that after the Americans leased the land for 99 years, they left and gave the land to the Government, who in turn was supposed to have returned the land to them (the landowners).

When Newsday called the Carenage Police Station at 4 pm yesterday, they said Noel was still detained and he could be charged.

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