The transfer is part of a larger deal that will see approximately 1,200 acres of former sugar lands being taken out of government hands. Other areas to be affected include Lodge (103 acres), and Sandy point (497.17 acres).
On Wednesday 17th October, 2012, approximately 70 members of the community of Cayon, and other nearby villages, including Keys, Ottley’s and Mansion, convened at the Cayon Community Centre to discuss and share their concerns about the land swap for debt issue and the high cost of electricity.
The common thread emerging from those residents in attendance was that what the government is doing is wrong, and is counterproductive to the earlier policies of previous Labour Administrations, especially that of National Hero and former Premier Robert Bradshaw, who is known to have advocated in the 1970s, that every effort should be made not to sell the lands of the country to foreign entities because they should remain as part of the heritage of the people of the country.
Bradshaw, according to one former sugar worker at the meeting, always told citizens that it is better to lease the land to investors, rather than selling, it because once the money earned from the sale is gone, so too would their patrimony.
Residents at Wednesday’s meeting urged MP Hamilton and his two parliamentary colleagues who were also present, (PAM’s leader Shawn Richards and Senator Vincent Byron), that they are fed up and think that the time has come to mix action with all the talk, because it is only through decisive action would the desired results materialized. The PAM leaders were urged on by the residents to march, demonstrate, take other civil protest action, but in any case, “Stop talking and take protest action”. The politicians were also urged to continue to take their message throughout the island, exposing what the government is doing and educating the people about the huge consequences of losing so much of their land that they are afraid would rob Kittitians of the opportunity to own “a piece of their rock” for housing, business and agriculture.
Residents told Hamilton and Richards, “We are ready, we ready to march. We ready to demonstrate. We ready to do anything we have to do. All we doing now is just waiting on you to call us out on the streets”.
Wednesday’s meeting, explained a PAM release late Thursday night, was also used to introduce the new PAM Political Leader, Shawn Richards and to discuss the two main topics for the evening.
The meeting was chaired by Senator Vincent Byron, while Eugene Hamilton led the discussions on the Land Swap issue. In his presentation, Richards addressed both issues of Land Swap and Electricity.
The electorate kept the evening’s proceedings going well into the night as one after another, they rose to their feet, stating to the PAM officials that they are ready for action as they have had ENOUGH of the talk.
Some went as far to say that they are not returning to anymore talk shop meeting. They all demand action.
One irate member of the audience said that he actually voted for the Labour administration. He admitted that the Labour government is not doing a good job and now the Land Swap situation is unbearable and he has had ENOUGH. He appealed to the PAM official to stop talking and start doing.
Another gentleman rose to his feet addressed the head table and the audience and said that he too has had ENOUGH. He reminded all that he is a Labour man but he can no longer vote for that Labour Party with Douglas at the head. He went on to state that a prominent Labour Leader, at a town hall meeting said, “when there are dissenters in the ranks, their heads should be chopped off.”
The meeting began just before 7:30 PM ending just before 11:00pm.