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Richmond Vale Academy

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Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves has inquired about whether Richmond Vale Academy is using all of the 29.8 acres of lands leased to them, as the government looks for lands for farmers displaced by a stone quarry in the area.

The government has leased 58.8 acres of land for 30 years to a company belonging to St. Lucian businessman Rayneau Gajadhar for the operation of a stone quarry.

Speaking on radio this week, Gonsalves said farmers displaced by the quarry will be compensated for their crop and the government will try to find alternative lands for them.

He said he had telephoned the person in charge of RVA.

“They’re not the people who own the lease. They know them and they’re connected with them. I ask them if the 30 acres of land which they have — their 29.8 acres — if they’re using all of the land.

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“Because some of the farmers ask, some of the ganja farmers say, ‘I don’t mind being part of the medical cannabis industry and grow some in a particular area.’ But some of the other farmers are concerned about access if you carry them on a particular side. So we’re looking for other parcels of land and, naturally, if there’s a big piece, like this, maybe they don’t need all that.”

The RVA describes itself as a non-governmental organisation “dedicated to create a sustainable future through ecological farming and environmental projects and courses”.

The prime minister said “only one or two people” actually paid an initial deposit on a lease from 1982. 

“I mean, they are there and you have to compensate them for the crops. So fellas use government land for many, many, many years and enjoy the fruits. But I not raising that as any issue; I’m just putting that also in the mix.”

Click the link above for more about the RVA’s programme and their views on the quarry.

He said that in 1982, the RVA and the Agricultural Development Corporation had agreed “on uncertain terms.

“And the Danes there went into possession and started to construct before any lease was prepared. Even though they had agreed to lease them the land?

“Do you know from 1982 all through the NDP years from July 1984 they never pay one cent lease for them 18 years? I asked that the thing be researched… I am a man, I usually wait and talk when I have to talk.”

The prime minister said that the lease was made in 2000, the year before the New Democratic Party was voted out of office.

“And the lease was given for 99 years but backdated from 1982. And then they pay $10,000 a year and it increased by a little bit, little bit. I’ve been advised that they pay now $11,000 a year for 30 acres of land and all of us need to ask ourselves if that is value for money.”

The prime minister said Opposition Leader Godwin Friday has accused his government of giving away the quarry lands.

The operators of the quarry would pay EC$12,000 a year lease for the lands.

The government will also receive EC$2 for each tonne of aggregate produced at the quarry.

Gonsalves said that RVA occupies three continuous parcels of land.

“They promised to send me to say how many Vincentians getting trained there because you know [for] a long time was foreigners who were being trained down there. They have a significant number of them also still being trained.

“I bet you all this here, I don’t think Friday know this, but he run off he mouth ‘bout thing way he nah know… Some of the farmers asked me if they could get piece of the land from Richmond Vale. So if they asked me, I have to raise it,” Gonsalves said. 

“There’s something else I’ll say but I’ll keep my mouth shut on it for the time being and I may talk about it depending on the outcome of certain discussions, not in relation to the farmers.”

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6 replies on “Farmers asked about lands leased to Richmond Vale Academy — PM”

  1. kendol Gibson says:

    The lease must be honoured by the two parties unless one is in breach.
    You can’t take the farmers land to enrich one person
    then go to violate a bonified contract so as to cure you poor judgment and oversight.

    The best solution is to modify the quary lease so as to make the said farmers as a 20% share holder so they can earn income and royalties.

    it’s time that those who negotiate these deals do the right thing

  2. Urlan Alexander says:

    RVA has 30 acres and is paying $10 000.00 per year . The quarry operators have 58.9 acres and are paying $12 000.00. So whats your point PM? Do you know how many vincentians are trained there? Do you know how many are employed by the RVA? Are you aware of the many community programs from RVA that benefited North Leeward and elsewhere in SVG? I guess you dont but you will find out. If Dr Friday is not aware of certain things you are none the wiser. You must keep your mouth shut on matters you don’t know. You give the lands to foreigners to make billions and now ypu looking lands to give them. While monies are being thrown left, right and center and nest days are being secured for some, the people who will be affected by the quarry will lierally face the dust and other hazards as this quarry progresses.

  3. Let’s freeze the thought. Then wait patiently until next elections. Will things be better by then? The big man like he got an axe to grind with RVA. Not amusesing; Nopes for the locals empty pockets again. World boss making speeches and promises.

  4. Hands off RVA Ralph! I know you and Francis and Saboto don’t like farmers, but they handle their issue much better that you handle the government. I hope the people don’t buy into your excuses. It shows how very little you think about their community, lives and livelihood. This reminds me of the calypso “Labour Love”.. Fuzzy did mention Chato in the song and from the IWN review, folks didn’t know what’s a quarry, but they still support it.

  5. Nathen Green says:

    The Danes were screwed in the past and ended up with this site and have done a wonderful thing with it. They are world renowned and an amazing organization. Leave them alone and stop being the one little piggy that screws everything up.

  6. Duke DeArment says:

    Does RVG deserve punishment because the government is leasing lands for a quarry? There is so much unused lands in SVG, so why does the government target those that have constantly made generous contributions to society? Maybe RVG is not using all the lands. maybe they wish to preserve that land for the future, as well as sustainably care for the land they are using, by using compost and orgnic components rather than chemicals.
    I suppose we are not notice or talk about those facts! Does the government care about the environment of just pay lip-service? When money or power politics are involved the environment, and those that care about it, gets ignored.

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