Four farmers from central Trinidad have threatened to sue the State over delays in processing their land tenure documents.
The threat was made by the farmers’ lawyer Richard Jaggasar in a pre-action protocol letter sent yesterday to Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi, the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, the Commissioner of State Lands and the chief executive officer of Caroni (1975) Ltd.
In the letter, Bissundai Rampersad, Dipnarine Mathura, Gangadaye Nanan, and Patsy Harrylal are claiming that the respondents are responsible for protracted delays in dealing with their issues with their leases.
“It is untenable that an applicant may comply with all requests by the State only to be met with unnecessary and unreasonable delay,” Jaggasar said.
“It is unreasonable to expect applications to be properly processed in an environment where the office holders themselves seem determined to cause delays,” he added.
In the letter, obtained by Guardian Media Ltd, Jaggasar sought to detail the services being sought by each of his clients and the delay they have each faced.
Rampersad holds an expired tenant agreement, under the Agricultural Small Holdings Tenure for a parcel of land in Felicity, which he has been waiting to renew for over 479 days. Mathura holds a valid tenure agreement for his parcel of land but requires approval from the Commissioner of State Lands and Caroni (1975) Ltd to subdivide it. His request has been pending for over 481 days.
Nanan has a valid tenure agreement but wants to remove her son from it. However, her request has been delayed for 1041 days so far.
In terms of Harrylal, she inherited her land from her father, who obtained it as part of his voluntary separation package from Caroni (1975) Ltd.
Harrylal is seeking the ministry and the commissioner’s intervention to expel the person, who leased the land and regularise her use of it. Her request has been allegedly pending for over 440 days.
Through the proposed judicial review lawsuit, the farmers would be seeking a series of orders compelling the office holders to process their applications within a reasonable time.
The farmers will have to consider the responses to the letter before they file a lawsuit.
They will then have to seek leave from a High Court judge to pursue it.