Day of Destruction

By Burton Sankeralli
April 26, 2011

The MarketPineapple… sweet potato… water melon… pak choi… lettuce… topi tambo… bodi… pumpkin… corn…

On April 25th, 2011, this Day of Destruction, the so-called Peoples’ Partnership government destroyed 175 acres of food crops in two agricultural sites. There are certain actions that come to define a regime, certain events when such a regime loses its fundamental credibility. Such an event may involve bloodshed or it may, on the surface, be largely symbolic or it can involve the killing of crops.

In an act of naked violence that so crystallizes the politics of deception, treachery and brute force that has come to define our landscape, this government has claimed its place in our historical hall of infamy.

Food is life, and food security is our peoples’ life. This is our very substance. And it is precisely this that has been so crushed by bulldozers in the hands of thugs.

As someone who saw this destruction with my own eyes I must bear witness. Once again the substance of our people has been savaged. Once again, the livelihoods of people have been destroyed. Once again, the fury of the state has been unleashed by a regime elected on a platform of food security, consultation and a return of basic human decency.

So what do we tell the good citizens who voted for a new day? What do we tell the farmers whose years of blood, sweat and tears are crushed? What does one say to the little child witnessing monstrous machines gobbling up his father’s field? And what do we tell the youths who believe that the only way out is the barrel of a gun? If de priest could play who is we?

And this atrocity was perpetrated on the morning of Easter Monday reminiscent of the atrocity of the previous in Union Village done on Easter Sunday (we know what happened to them). There is an irony in these politicians choosing the season of resurrection to carry out their crucifixions.

So the last regime whose base was the urban areas saw its job as keeping these urban masses in shacks, hunger, poverty and indignity. This regime whose heartland is in the rural areas now appears to see its duty is to destroy the agricultural base of its own supporters. Such is the nature of politics in this place.

So the words of the old Vulcan proverb are indeed true – Only Nixon can go to China!

At least the one positive outcome of this is that the complete and utter failure of the conventional politics is laid bare for all to see and that our people are now compelled to directly intervene on their own behalf.

Now it may take quite a while for this realization to properly sink in. Decades of nationalist backwardness will not evaporate overnight but slowly, but slowly the wheels are now turning.

April 25, 2011… remember the date. Let us pray that the government’s Day of Destruction becomes the peoples’ Day of Judgment.

It is time to act.

HDC bulldozers roll over crops
Farmers have filed an injunction restraining Housing Development Corporation (HDC) personnel and its agents from bulldozing 100 acres of farm land at Crescent Gardens, Mausica Road, D’Abadie.

…HDC bulldozes agricultural lands for housing
FARMERS at Pineapple Crescent in Mausica are demanding that Government explain why agricultural lands are being used for housing.

…40 acres of crops bulldozed to make way for houses

…Planning for both housing and food
This need has been driven by the post-independent period by the sociological change in the structure of families in this country whereby the extended family, with several generations living under…

9 thoughts on “Day of Destruction”

  1. The PNM has members of their organization in key positions such as the head of the HDC Jearlean John,the DPP,the president and many members of the hierarcy of the police service.Mrs.John a staunch PNM ordered the destruction of crops so as to continue the PNM strategy of house padding as she would have liked housing units to be constructed in certain areas and occupied by PNM supporters.The tentacles of the evil organization called the PNM must be cut,key supporters of this regime must be removed and replaced by PP advocates.Mrs.John should be held fully culpable for this atrocity and the PP should have her removed instantly.The law of karma prevades the universe and one day it will catch up with Mrs.John who may die during a famine in this life or the next.

    1. Hey! this is your PPP government. JearleenJohn has never been a PNM I dare you show proof of this.

    2. The DPP has made sure he cleared a few of his PNM comrades. He said “insufficient evidence to charge”. It is time this office come under public scrutiny (not political) and questions be asked as to the administration of justice. Abu, Manning escape..hmmm Maybe his judgments should be reviewed by five high court judges to ensure fair is fair.

  2. Stop bulldozing now!
    Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar has ordered an immediate halt to the bulldozing of farmlands.

    …PM steps in bulldozing of farmlands, orders consultation between Moonilal, Bharath

    …They were given notice to leave, says HDC chief
    JEARLEAN JOHN, managing director at the Housing Development Corporation (HDC), has denied that the farmers were not given notice to vacate the lands located in D’Abadie.

    …Bharath promises to take up farmers’ case
    Minister of Food Production, Land and Marine Resources Vasant Bharath says farmers whose crops were destroyed in Mausica on Monday should have been given appropriate time to reap their crops.

    …’Hostility’ to farmers
    OPPOSITION SENATOR Fitzgerald Hinds last night condemned Government for displaying “hostility” towards farmers at Pineapple Crescent in Mausica on Monday when it bulldozed agricultural lands there for housing construction.

    …Pumpkin vs housing: A lose-lose contest
    The Government could have handled the razing of 40 acres of crops at D’Abadie with more sensitivity and humaneness. Choosing Easter Monday to send in bulldozers and armed guards, the Housing Development Corporation (HDC) set out to clear some 60 acres of land earmarked for the construction of houses. By the time the farmers, who had been squatting on the land got an injunction, some 40 acres of sweet potatoes, cassava, pumpkin and bodi had been destroyed.

  3. When lands used for agriculture is gone to housing, it is gone forever. The government should be building more house in Point Fortin and Port of Spain, these seem to the two areas where housing is badly needed. As for Caroni lands it should be given to the farmers to plant crops and assist them to live an honest life. As one farmer said “what dey want me to now to behave as bandit.”

  4. What is really going on?

    Isn’t it possible for the Commissioner of Land to assign other areas for housing? Why be so determined to deprive the farmers and by extension the country of fresh produce?

    Something does not sound and look correct here.

    Whoa! Miss John, your slip is showing.


    Do not be anyone’s “FALL GUY”

    “FALL GUY” Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


    A fall guy is a person used as a scapegoat to take the blame for someone else’s actions, or someone at the butt of jokes. One placed in the position of fall guy is often referred to as “taking the fall”.
    In the film industry,…

    The Fall Guy is an American action/adventure television program produced for ABC and originally broadcast from November 4, 1981 to May 2, 1986. It starred Lee Majors, Douglas Barr, and…


  5. Jearlean John is watching the news and going “ha ha ha ha my God is the PNM”This was a well calculated attack on the PP government by staunch PNM members who are still in key positions in key organizations.The PNM operates like a mafia well calculated and cold-blooded, Jearlean chose the right time to act when Moonilal and Kamla are in Brazil then to execute her ‘dirty-work’The nastiness of the PNM will one day catch up with them.

  6. If it was the governments land, then what is the problem? Just because there is open land it doesn’t make it your land to do as you please. If it was government land, then they can do what they want with it for the greater good.

  7. THE EDITOR: Like cockroach scrambling for cover when light switch on, our self-proclaimed servants of the people frantically tried, under the glare of the camera lights, to distance themselves from the Easter Monday destruction of farmers’ crops.

    After all the PP manifesto states: “Food security is a prerequisite to people-centred development. Agriculture with the right policy framework, a targeted focus on identified challenges and encouragement to farmers can make a huge contribution to economic growth…Increased food production and food security will decrease our food import bill and lower the price of food, while at the same time increasing prosperity for our farmers and providing sustainable livelihoods for more workers.”

    The manifesto goes on to trumpet a: “National Land Use Policy that specifies and protects land to be used exclusively for agriculture.” It talks about respect for farmers and regularisation of tenure and all the nice things that they lifted from the programme of the National FoodCrop Farmers’ Association.

    But in this brave new world respect is demonstrated through bulldozers and machine guns and food security comes not through the nurturing and protection of local farmers and food production but by hugging up PriceSmart which uses up our foreign exchange and stuffs us full of useless and even harmful food products. It is ironic that the two areas that were bulldozed sat in the shadows of PriceSmart’s walls.

    These same servants of the people promised to put workers at the centre. After almost one year not a step forward has been made in relieving the labour movement of the burden of repressive, anti-worker legislation.

    The COP condemns the action of a government, which is being temporarily led by its political leader, as a continuation of PNM policies (Did somebody say exchange?). Senator Abdulah breathes brimstone and fire while wearing his trade union hat. We remember him saying 5% is not enough and 5% it was. Nobody takes him seriously anymore anyway.

    Comrade McLeod, dipping into his bag of clichés-for-all-occasions described the action as “painful” and apologises for it. Vasant Bharath claims to be “disturbed” over the action and put on his I am sympathetic to my brothers in gardening but I shoulda be finance minister face.

    The prime minster, who left for Brasil on the very day that the crops were being bulldozed, orders a halt to the bulldozing from the land of Pele, this after the court had already done so at D’Abadie through injunction. The bulldozing continued at Chaguanas. She orders Bharath and Housing Minister, heir-apparent Roodal Moonilal to arrive at a solution. Bharath assures the country that he is ready to do so, but alas Moonilal is out of the country…and the beat goes on.

    Jearlean John better brakes, because she ent no servant of the people. She is just a technocrat who can be sacrificed on the scapegoat altar in the twinkling of an eye. After all is said and done while a computer may have an undelete button, there is no un-bulldoze button. The matter is going to be diverted to one of compensation and they will all lay low until the storm blows over…if we allow it to.

    Every crisis is pregnant with opportunity: the farming community must seize the time while the nation’s attention is focused on this felonious assault and put maximum pressure on the government to:

    Adopt a rational land use policy where soils categorised as being suitable for agriculture be reserved for just such a purpose. The best soil for agriculture has already been alienated into residential, commercial and infrastructural use. Only 24.5% of the most fertile land in the country is still under agricultural production.

    Distribute lands in such a way as to ensure security of tenure for farmers.

    Provide the infrastructural and particularly irrigation amenities, support and incentives to the farmers to ensure a high standard of production.

    Gerry Kangalee
    La Romaine

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