Government has granted a portion of lands on the Laura Estate in St. David’s to a company for the commercial rearing of animals including cattle, goats and poultry.
This was disclosed by Leader of Government Business in the Senate, Minister of State for Education, Simon Stiell who was responding to questions posed to him by Farmer’s Representative in the Upper House, Keith Clouden.
Sen. Stiell said the company, which is called “Grenada Quality Meats”, received authorisation from Cabinet for the establishment of an agri-business on ten acres of lands at Laura Estate.
He said the agreement provides a framework for the establishment of
and operations of a livestock farm, and meat processing plant in St. David’s, and the term is for 32 years with the option for renewal of another 32 years.
Sen. Stiell told the Senate meeting that the agreement also entails an annual rent of five percent of the commercial value of the property, and the utilization of local labour.
Although Sen. Stiell abstained from giving the nationality of the individual who is behind the company, Sen. Clouden informed the Senate that it is a Pakistani National.
The Farmer’s Representative is upset that State land is given to a non-national to conduct private business.
He charged that nothing is currently taking place on the lands, and also reported that the last two Grenadians who were employed there have been dismissed.
“If a guy from Pakistan wants land here he must go to a private Grenadian, and not our State land. So the question is … let us know who is that person that got ten acres (of land) out of an estate that you (Stiell) said was not part of the commercialisation process,” he said.
The Leader of Government Business said the creation of jobs is most important, and the development of Grenada’s agro-processing sector.
He said the proposal that was put forward by the individual is a substantial one, which will bring significant benefits to the country.
“It is in Grenada’s best interest, regardless of where the individual comes from,” Sen. Stiell said.
Meanwhile, the Senate was told that Ministry of Agriculture, Lands, Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment has granted permission to an individual whose name has been given as “Miss Douglas” to construct a private dwelling house on the Laura Estate in St. David’s.
The Leader of Government Business in the Senate made the disclosure in response to another question asked by the Farmer’s Representative.
According to Sen. Stiell, an area of 2,500 square feet of lands was identified on lands allotted by the previous Government of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to seven persons.
Sen. Clouden informed the Senate that the Permanent Secretary and himself visited the Laura Estate and discovered that a number of fully bearing cocoa trees were cut down and he can produce photographs showing the destroyed cocoa trees.
Sen. Stiell said the Ministry of Agriculture is not aware that 25 fully bearing cocoa trees were cut down in order to accommodate the construction of the house.
He said an investigation will be conducted to determine whether any trees were cut down on government lands for the alleged purpose.