Minister of Agriculture Land and Fisheries Clarence Rambharat seems to be playing an integral role in finishing the job of dismantling the assets of Caroni (1975) Limited, a task he undertook under the PNM administration when he was senior management at the company.
The TT Scrap Iron Dealers Association is looking for their piece of the pie too, as they wrote to Minister Rambharat indicating that they wish to be the “preferred bidder” and be given preference in clearing away the scrap iron which would result from the demolition of the Usine Ste Madeleine and Brechin Castle sugar mills.
Many questions arise as it seems that the process to wipe Caroni off the face of the history of Trinidad and Tobago may have been accelerated upon hearing Opposition Leader Mrs. Kamla Persad Bissessar’s declaration that she fully intends to reopen the sugar industry when she returns to government.
Perhaps it is this fear that has given rise to the frantic pace to accelerate the demolition and dismantling of the remaining assets of the now defunct company.
We should be reminded that the Sevilla Great House is on the asset register of the National Trust, which houses the Sugar Archives Centre & the Sevilla Sugar Museum, that are all on the Brechin Castle Estate. While the Usine St. Madeline estate still has functioning bungalows whose present owners, the Caroni Householders’ Association, are in the process of litigation against the state at the Industrial Court. The Usine estate’s other facility and asset is its golf course, the only one in South Trinidad as all other golfing facilities are in North and North West Trinidad.
According to MP for Oropouche West, Mrs. Vidia Gayadeen Gopeesingh, “no public tendering has taken place and what we are seeing is the continuing efforts to reward the friends, family and financiers of the PNM, as word has come to us that the lands at Usine Ste. Madeline especially, are earmarked for a business enterprise for the select few. The profiteering continues under this Rowley regime that has no concern for the past, present or future of this country.”