Agri Minister: Land fraud rampant across T&T

 (Trinidad Guardian) Agriculture Minister Clarence Rambharat yesterday admitted that land fraud is rampant in T&T and that as line minister for land, he had to report land fraud to the police for an investigation.

He made the disclosure during his contribution to the Registration of Titles to Land Bill in the Senate

“I want to say you just have to Google land fraud in Trinidad and you will see. The Law Association has in fact put out information on land fraud,” he told the House.

“I can tell you Madame President, as a minister, I have referred matters to the Fraud Squad and I have referred matters elsewhere and it deals with fraud. And it is not something that should be taken lightly.”

Rambharat said the Red House was replete with cases where people went into the Search Room and using a razor blade, “cut out deeds from the books.” He said that the state of land administration was highly undesirable and needed to be fixed.

A prime example of where land fraud had been committed, Rambharat said, was with Caroni 1975 Ltd lands.

“You are dealing with a country where you have fraudsters, the impossibility of determining how many times somebody has gone around to people and offered a deed for sale.”

Agriculture Minister Clarence Rambharat

During his contribution, Opposition Senator Gerald Ramdeen asked about Alana Haynes, who wrote the Commissioner of State Lands last August asking for a parcel of land, after she was put out of her home in Morvant by a relative and rendered homeless.

Ramdeen said five weeks after Haynes submitted her letter, she received a response from the commissioner indicating they were prepared to grant her a licence to occupy lands in Arouca as a temporary relief.

Stating this bill will help in the fight against land corruption, Ramdeen said the issuance of such land to Haynes would serve as an injustice to thousands of citizens who have been waiting years to get title for their lands.

“A lot of work is needed in clearing up land fraud,” Ramdeen said.

In a Whatsapp message to the T&T Guardian afterwards, Rambharat said he brought Haynes’ matter to the attention of Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley in an April 2018 report and was awaiting feedback. Asked if the Commissioner of State Lands was asked to submit a report to him, Rambharat did not respond.

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