Debe businessman Ajit Moonesar, right, speaks to inspector Tyrone Ramadhin, left, after he was served with a legal notice to desist from illegally occupying State lands opposite the University of the West Indies’ campus in Debe yesterday.

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Officials from the Office of the Commissioner of State Lands yesterday issued a written legal notice to Debe businessman Ajit Moonesar to desist from occupying a piece of State land near the University of the West Indies campus in Debe.

Despite being served verbal notice in March, Moonesar has continued expanding. He has built a road, constructed a barrier and has cut a drain around the parcel of land. He has also expanded his field of crops.

When Guardian Media visited the scene yesterday, Moonesar was seen standing next to an excavator which was dredging a river. The excavator was working on behalf of the Ministry of Works but was piling dirt on the lands near the spot which Moonesar has illegally claimed.

Commissioner of State lands Bhanmatie Seecharan later despatched a team led by Inspector Tyrone Ramadhin to caution Moonesar about the illegal occupation.

In an interview with Guardian Media, Ramadhin said legal notice was given to Moonesar to remove himself from the land. The inspector said they were now looking to get equipment to dismantle the road which Moonesar built.

“We need an excavator to dig out the tunnel and to remove the barrier he has placed. We have already given him a legal notice to desist from occupying the land and he has not complied,” Ramadhin said.

Guardian Media was first alerted to Moonesar’s activities in late March after built a foundation and erected a structure on the lands located opposite the UWI campus just as the COVID-19 lockdown measures were being implemented.

When asked then if he owned the land, Moonesar said yes and when asked for details of his name and contact number he told the Guardian to call 999. The structure started back then has since been dismantled by the Office of the Commissioner of State Lands.

However, without proper equipment, the Office of the Commissioner of State Lands has not been able to totally remove all the infrastructure which Moonesar has built on the lands.

Contacted for comment yesterday, Penal/Debe Regional Corporation chairman Dr Allen Sammy said they were willing to assist the Office of the Commissioner of State Lands with equipment to remove the illegal structures.“All he (Seecharan) has to do is make a formal request in writing and we will be ready to assist,” Sammy said.