FOOD Production Minister Devant Maharaj yesterday expressed confidence that the Caribbean Fisheries Training and Development Institute (CFTDI) would not be evicted from its Chaguaramas base today, despite claims that an eviction notice has been received from the Chaguaramas Development Authority (CDA) giving that deadline date.
CFTDI claimed it received an eviction notice from the CDA last Friday informing it that the institute has until today to move out.
At least 11 other large industrial companies in the Chaguaramas area were also served notices of eviction, according to Captain Ronald Wild of CFTDI.
But CDA chief executive officer Joycelin Hargreaves, in a release issued yesterday, “strongly denied” those claims.
Following news of the possible eviction notice, employees at the CFTDI, accompanied by their union, the Public Services Association (PSA) and its president Watson Duke, protested outside the CDA’s head office at Airways Road in Chaguaramas on Wednesday.
Some 68 CFTDI employees are said to be affected by the move.
On Wednesday, Duke met with Hargreaves to discuss the situation.
Duke is also expected to meet with Minister Maharaj to discuss the issue as CFTDI is under the purview of the Food Production Ministry.
Maharaj yesterday said he had no news of an eviction notice being served on CFTDI, but assured that “amicable discussions” surrounding a relocation have been ongoing for several months.
Maharaj said a site for relocation has not been earmarked as yet, but several options are currently being looked at.
Maharaj said he discussed the matter with Planning Minister Dr Bhoe Tewarie.
Contacted yesterday, Tewarie referred the Express to the CDA.
The CDA strongly denied the claims that a dozen tenants have been served eviction notices and are required to vacate the premises by today.
This claim “unfairly portrays” the Authority in a “negative light”, the CDA stated.
“The CDA reiterates that the Authority continues to follow the law, and all actions are only taken after mutually beneficial dialogue has been concluded with all the affected parties.
“The CDA’s mandate is about balanced development of the peninsula using a self-sustainable model. It is not about profit, but about development that would include people, create jobs and new business opportunities,” the CDA’s release added.
“In the past, development has not been balanced on the peninsula, and Chaguaramas has not been open to all. We are now moving to address this by making sure that all tenants who occupy the land spaces in Chaguaramas comply with all regulatory and land use requirements. The CDA is about including as many people in the development process and promoting wider participation in opportunities. Our focus is to rationalise and plan our land use, ensuring that tenants’ use the spaces allocated for the purposes for which they were intended,” it stated.