Minister Rambharat urges the public to write to him on any unsettled issue involving the Agriculture Ministry… “I will respond!”
“I have a responsibility to you as taxpayers, to make sure that the Agriculture Ministry does what it is supposed to do with the resources you have given to them and to me.” So said the Minister of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries, Senator the Honourable Clarence Rambharat on Wednesday 13th March, 2019, as he delivered the Feature Address at a brief, Lease Letter Distribution Ceremony, hosted at his Ministry’s corporate headquarters in Chaguanas. These letters, which were distributed to seven (7) farmers within the Cunupia area and environs, all convey Cabinet’s approval to grant the farmers, standard agricultural leases for an initial period of thirty (30) years.
Minister Rambharat, who urged members of the public to write and message him – via letter or Facebook – on any unresolved issue involving the Ministry, empathised with those farmers who have been awaiting confirmation of their grant or renewal of leases for a number of years and admitted that as a result of these inordinate delays, he had undergone the task of communicating with these farmers directly. “Sometimes years will pass and farmers would have received no word on whether their application or lease has been approved by the Cabinet so in 2017, I started to write my own letters to people who got the approval of Cabinet ,indicating to them formally, that their lease has been approved. That letter then allows them to move through the system with some piece of evidence that they actually had the approval prior to their receipt of a formal letter of offer from the Office of the Commissioner of State Lands (COSL),” he said.
The Minister explained that the letter will enable the farmer “to go to the different agencies” in order to “transact business” as the farmer will now be able “to demonstrate that he/she has made substantial progress” in the acquisition of land tenure. He added too that part of the COSL’s responsibility was to issue instructions to the Chief State Solicitor to prepare the leases on behalf of the farmers; a process which in itself may be further stymied due to discrepancies with name spellings, plot numbers, acreage sizes and other issues.