Tuesday, December 18, 2012

PP government, former cane farmers sign historic MOU

Food Production Minister Devant Maharaj shakes hands with Seukaran Tambie, President of the CPATT as PS in the Food Production Ministry, Myrna Thompson, looks on
Food Production Minister Devant Maharaj on Monday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with former Cane Farmers of Caroni (1975) Ltd, (CPATT) - the Cane Producers Association of Trinidad & Tobago.

In a brief statement at the signing Maharaj stated that CPATT has proposed a development strategy that will create an industrial zone from Hindustan to Penal. 

"It is envisaged that this economic zone when completed will have food basket areas and processing outlets that would benefit the membership of this organization.

"This MOU sees the People's Partnership Government providing inter alia TT$1 million to the CPATT for the undertaking of specialized studies leading to the development of a holistic plan for Penal and Hindustan."

The minister said the assistance to CPATT further extends to providing suitable offices for its secretariat in Caroni and the provision of all furnishings and office equipment.

Maharaj also commented on the closure of the state sugar company in July 2003 by the Patrick Manning People's National Movement (PNM) administration, noting that it marked the end of an era in Trinidad and Tobago "as the Nation witnessed, under the iron fist of the PNM, the closure of Caroni (1975) Ltd." 

He said, "After some 117 years of servicing the economy of this great twin island state close to 75% of this country’s rural class were annexed from the productive economy to be rendered unemployed and unemployable and some 77,000 acres of arable farmland were decommissioned.

"Under the PNM lead administration some 6,000 cane farmers and 3,000 cane cutters were discriminated against and left out in the cold."

Maharaj noted that in 2005 the European Union (EU) eliminated the Sugar Protocol as part of its Sugar Reform Process in ACP countries. The EU then offered technical and financial assistance to those countries to alleviate the possible negative impacts of the Sugar Reforms.

He said, "Under this arrangement Trinidad and Tobago used this opportunity to access assistance from the European Union as Budget Sector Support. One of the major objective of this fund was the development of a National ‘Sugar’ Adaptation Strategy. This strategy has three (3) objectives:
  1. Privitization of the Sugar industry
  2. Economic diversification through regulatory reforms, investments and SME support
  3. Mitigating the adverse social, economic and environmental impacts of the reform
He said after many years of failed promises under the PNM, the event on Monday was one marked with "a sense of great humility and pride" since it heralds "the beginning of a new era for the former Cane Farmers of Caroni (1975) Ltd under this People's Partnership Government led by the Honourable Kamla Persad-Bissessar."

The president of CPATT, Seukaran Tambie, thanked the minister and the PP government for "bringing closure" to the matter after years of discrimination by the previous administration.

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Jai & Sero

Jai & Sero

Our family at home in Toronto 2008

Our family at home in Toronto 2008
Amit, Heather, Fuzz, Aj, Jiv, Shiva, Rampa, Sero, Jai