Despite plans for the development of Chaguaramas by the authorities, I am not surprised by those farmers who feel they can just illegally occupy State lands. For decades, there has been a culture of squatting in Carenage and Chaguaramas, and unless this bold-faced attitude is changed, the whole country will suffer.
We desperately need to widen the roadway into Carenage, but squatters have taken over the road reserve, even the small strip of land between the roadway and the gulf has been occupied by countless shacks and even some business places.
The vast majority of people who needed to be rescued in Carenage and Diego Martin during the flooding two years ago were people squatting near to the river and along the hillsides where the water passes. I am certain the authorities did not give them permission to build their houses in those areas. They just started “building house” there without regard for the authorities.
Now, because of the failure of successive administrations to address the issue of squatting in Carenage, it will take years to remove these people, so the country can open up the western peninsula for development in this economically depressed area.
There is no overnight fix for improving the roadway into Carenage and Chaguaramas, but it is unfair to Carenage, and the rest of the country, to be held to ransom and be deprived of jobs and development because of this bold-faced attitude of squatters and farmers who have no legal or moral right to State lands.