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Govt hands leases to 480 Caroni workers
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and Food Production Minister Vasant Bharath distributed 480 residential leases for land formerly belonging to Caroni 1975 Ltd to ex-workers yesterday. The distribution ceremony took place at the Centre Pointe Mall, Chaguanas. The lands were promised to workers by the Government as part of VSEP packages when the company closed in 2003. In his address Bharath told lease recipients that over 8000 ex-workers were in line to receive leases from the Government. He said the Government had delivered over 1000 leases and 2000 leases were currently being prepared for distribution.
Bharath named seven sites from which the land would be distributed, including, Cedar Hills, Reform, McBean, Esmeralda and Picton 2. Bharath said $1.6 billion had been spent by the previous Government yet they failed to deliver a single plot of land. He said an additional $185 million was spent by the current administration, including $77 million on repairs to the residential plots to bring 4000 lots to shape. Bharath said in addition to residential leases, ex-workers had each also been promised 2 acres of agricultural land.
“Government is determined to correct the ills the agricultural sector has faced in previous years,” said Bharath. “Now over 15,000 acres of productive land will be under the control of ex-Caroni workers,” said Bharath. He encouraged lease recipients to take advantage of Government’s agriculture initiatives when making use of their land. He told them it was now easier for farmers to get loans from institutions like the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) and added that the ADB had granted $186 million in loans to local farmers this year.
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