70 former Petrotrin workers to obtain residential land
Rhianna Mc Kenzie
The Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, through a computer-generated raffle, selected 70 former Petrotrin workers who will each receive residential land.
At a ceremony at the ministry in Port of Spain on Tuesday, Minister Pennelope Beckles distributed the first batch of residential lots to first-time buyers, as part of their severance pay.
“To the former Petrotrin workers, thank you for your service to Petrotrin and TT, but most of all for your patience. Today indicates that your government and your country have not forgotten you.
She said each lot will be 5,000 square feet and each beneficiary will be granted a 199-year lease.
Energy and Energy Industries Minister Stuart Young said the decision to shut down the Petrotrin refinery and restructure it in 2018 was not taken lightly.
He added: “Petrotrin has never been closed, despite what others are saying. The refinery was closed and Petrotrin was restructured.
He said the government not only made $ 2.2 billion in cash payments, but also promised workers a distribution of land.
The distribution will be in two categories, he said: residential lots for first-time buyers and agricultural plots for those with agricultural interests.
Beckles said the farm plots are next on the schedule.
“You will also benefit from financing from the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) for your commercial factory, up to $ 500,000.
She said those who weren’t picked on Monday will return to the pool for the next draw.
“What you see here is crucial. I am happy to be here as we watch the draw for the first 70 lots to distribute to these workers. “
Beckles said the database includes more than 1,400 applications. The 70 candidates drawn on Tuesday will be published later.
She said the cost of the land, the infrastructure development of the lots, administrative and legal fees will all be paid by the state, while the beneficiaries must pay all taxes and fees related to the post-lease property.
“As many of you know, more land and property is coming to more Petrotrin workers. This is only the first. The Cabinet has approved land for Petrotrin workers to be distributed to La Romaine II , La Romaine; Allamby Street and Golconda, San Fernando; Glenroy II, Princes Town; Balmain, Couva; and Guapo, Point Fortin. “
She said the Cabinet approved other residential lots from the Housing Development Corporation (HDC), Greenfield Developments, Estate Management and Business Development Company Ltd (EMBDC), surplus lots of 22 estates leased to Caroni ( 1975) Ltd. to be made available to the public and the land vested in Heritage Petroleum Company Ltd.
“We have chosen to make sure that no former Petrotrin worker will be homeless,” she said. “Some people may want to sublet, transfer or sell the land later, as their lives take different turns, and they will be able to do so after ten years or so. But our immediate concern is to take care of the former workers of Petrotrin now, and to help them meet their housing needs, as soon as possible. ”
She said the ministry, through the TT Mortgage Finance Company (TTMF), will make subsidized loans available to eligible people. The Cabinet also agreed that farm plots of at least two acres will be distributed to eligible employees.
“For agricultural land, the standard lease will be renewable every 30 years. The beneficiaries will have to strengthen the country’s food security for at least ten years.