Caroni Central MP Arnold Ram on Sunday met with several residents of Pipecon Road in Carlsen Field who were given eviction notices last week.
The village meeting was held at the Agape Ministries Church in the area.
During the meeting, residents pleaded with their MP for help in taking up their plight which they described as “concerning” and “frightening.”
Some residents indicated that some of them have been occupying lands for over 30 years and have been given Certificates of Comfort.
“’So it is confusing for me as to how I got this Certificate of Comfort in 2015 and last Thursday I received a notice to leave. I have been living here for 35 years and this is sudden and so troublesome and worrying,” Suresh Dass said.
Ram said he believes that the serving of Quit and Trespassing Notices shows that there is a disconnect with the people.
“There’s a disconnect with the Government and the people on the ground. These are very harsh economic times even themselves have come out and acknowledged that we are in crisis mode. This area has been recognized as one of the areas to be regularized. There are certain documents in our possession which emanated from the House of Parliament identifying the Pipecon area as one area to be regularized,” Ram said.
Asked what happens after the seven-day notice expires concerning the status of the residents, Ram replied: “According to my understanding of the law is that if the Land Settlement Agency wants to progress the matter and have demolition notices they must take the matter to the court and therefore many of these persons have been residing here in excess of 30 years so we will prove that to the court. It’s really a sad state of affairs at the Land Settlement Agency it seems on terms of records because people who have Comfort certificates have been given quit notices.”
Ram assured that he will attempt to make contact with the Commissioner of State Lands Bhanmatie Seecharan on the matter.
Councilor Vishan Mohammed said he was made aware of the situation on Thursday when the notices were distributed and added that 25 households were served in total.
Pastor Andy Darsan of Gates of Agape Ministry said he has been occupying the land there for 25 years and has been able to build his church with four grants he got from the government.
“I started off with a wooden structure and reached to this stage now. I have been based here for 25 years and in that time they have used my church as homework centers, YTEPP centres and national insurance business too for the people. So this seven-day notice to Quit what I have received makes no sense.”
Resident Ajmer Mohammed said she has been occupying the land there for over 30 years.
“I know these people here my entire life and they have been working very hard to pay all their bills necessary and I find it very unfair as to what is being done and these people have nowhere else to go especially in these hard times. Some of them suffering from job loss and on the breadline and they have families and children. Some of them have over seven children. We are standing up for the rights of these people, for the community. I will reach out to an attorney to seek legal advice on behalf of the residents.”
Another resident, who wished not to be named said if the Land Settlement Agency insists that they move they would like to be compensated and relocated.
When contacted for a response on the matter, Minister of Agriculture Clarence Rambharat said he wasn’t aware.
“I am not aware of the matter. It may be a Land Settlement Agency issue.”
He sent to Guardian Media the name and contact for the Commissioner of State Lands.
However, questions sent to the Commissioner of State Lands Bhanmatie Seecharan remained unanswered up to press time.