ANY suggestion of Government moving to take back lands from former workers of the now defunct Caroni (1975) Limited is completely inaccurate and without merit. This is the assurance of the Minister of Trade, Industry, Investment and Communication, Vasant Bharath.
In a statement issued Sunday, the Minister said: “The Government made a solemn promise to Caroni workers that they will receive everything due to them following the closure of Caroni (1975) Limited in 2003, and as we have done in the past four years, we will continue to hold to that promise. No former employee of Caroni will be left out.”
The Minister’s assurance came in the wake of statements by the President General of the All Trinidad General Workers Union (ATGWTU), Nirvan Maharaj who incorrectly claimed Government was moving to take back lands assigned to former workers.
“Any such claim must be dismissed as completely baseless. The Government has done everything to always remain available to all stakeholders and representative groups and it would have been a very simple matter to make contact to get the facts before making erroneous public pronouncements.”
Minister Bharath added: “The Prime Minister has given numerous assurances that the lands and cash settlements due to the former workers will be delivered. In fact, as recently as October of this year, 510 leases were distributed to former workers, and the Minister of Land and Marine Resources, Jairam Seemungal, stated clearly that these leases came after 5,500 leases were already distributed over the past four years.”
Minister Bharath went further to assure the trade union that the Government intends to continue work to fulfill its promise: “I want to re-assure Mr Maharaj and his trade union that no such intention exists and we remain open to discussion on issues as they arise. We made a promise to the former workers and as we have already demonstrated, it is a promise we intend to keep,” the Minister stated.