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Tour Operator Vows To Challenge Cda Eviction

Discussion in 'latest News in Trinidad & Tobago' started by alexk, Aug 24, 2018.

  1. alexk

    alexk Guest

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    The owner of a boat charter company is challenging a decision by the Chaguaramas Development Authority (CDA) to evict it from the Alcan Bay fishing facility, next month.,

    In a telephone interview yesterday, Martin “Green” Hourie, owner of Island Royalty Cruises, said that he planned to take legal action over the move, which was announced by the CDA, this week.

    Hourie, a life-long fisherman, said he and his family began using the facility over 50 years ago.

    “My deceased father had a jetty here. All we do is cast the jetty into concrete to ply the fishing trade,” he said.

    Hourie, who now owns five fishing boats at the facility, said that due to the Government’s neglect of the dilapidated facility, he and other fishermen took it upon themselves to build their own toilets and refrigeration facility.

    He claimed that the CDA was aware of the development and did nothing to stop it.

    “It is not like the CDA did not know. You can not build a concrete structure in two days. If you came and see that something was building, why you did not stop it?” he asked.

    He said several years ago he got the opportunity to purchase a used boat, which he repaired and converted for fishing and pleasure charters.

    “I got an old boat to buy and I fixed it to carry people down the islands. Everybody here doing the same thing,” Hourie claimed as he said that fishermen were forced to diversify due to economic uncertainty in the trade.

    While the CDA has maintained that registered fishing vessels would not be removed, Hourie alleged that fishermen would be eventually be moved by the CDA.

    “They (CDA) want to give the place to (name withheld) and they tell the fishermen they want to develop the place for them. They are getting evicted,” Hourie said, as he claimed that he had evidence to substantiate his allegations.

    Although he admitted that CDA may demolish structures that were built at the facility, he claimed that it had no jurisdiction over boats anchored off the coast.

    “CDA cannot say what boats are to stay in the water. The CDA has no control over that,” he said.

    In a release issued earlier this week, the CDA said illegal occupiers have until September 7, to remove their vessels and items and demolish structures that were built onshore without permission.

    It also stated that if the CDA was forced to demolish the structures if the deadline passed, the owners would still be responsible for removing the debris. It was careful to note that bona fide fishermen were not included as the location is reserved for a fishing port.

    The Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries has proposed to develop the location into a state-of-the-art facility, but no official plans or timeline have been announced.

    When a news team from Guardian Media visited the facility and spoke to the fishermen, they were not hopeful over the proposal.

    “We hearing about that just as long as we hearing that they going to move us. We will have to wait and see because with politicians they will say two years and it will take 20,” one said.
     
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