The Government of Trinidad and Tobago (GORTT), today officially received a disbursement of TT$134.2 million (€16,585,000) in development assistance from the European Union (EU) Delegation to Trinidad and Tobago. The funding, provided through sector budget support, will be deposited into the country’s National Treasury and used for the continued restructuring of the formerly state-owned sugar sector. This disbursement is part of a total €75 million (ca. TT$700 mio.) programme that the European Union has granted to Trinidad and Tobago. The announcement was made today at a Media Conference held at the Waterfront Building.
Minister of Food Production, Land and Marine Affairs, Senator the Honourable Vasant Bharath stated,“Today’s receipt of sixteen point five eight five (16.585) million Euros is a direct result of the Government having successfully satisfied all performance indicators of the 2009 Financing Agreement and the general conditions for the 2010 Financing Agreement. This is a major achievement as it signals the hard work and success in strengthening the economic environment.”
Speaking about the grant, newly installed Chargé d’Affaires of the Delegation of the European Union, Ms. Daniela Tramacere, stated: “As the largest donor of development aid in the world, the EU remains committed to the development of a sustainable agricultural sector in Trinidad and Tobago. The EU is therefore happy to assist the Government of Trinidad and Tobago with both financial aid and technical support."
This disbursement was approved by the EU after the sugar programme achieved key performance targets mutually agreed upon by the EU and the Trinidad and Tobago Government. This infusion follows a recent disbursement of €13.034.000 in 2010. The objective of the programme is to help the Government of Trinidad and Tobago to
- minimize the socio-economic and environmental impact; and
- promote the diversification of the economy following the closure of the sugar industry.
It should be noted that in order to achieve the above mentioned targets it is for the government to determine how the funds are specifically used.
Since 2003, steady progress has been made in the restructuring programme including:
- TT$82M in payments to more than 3000 cane farmers as transitional support.
- The issuance of agricultural leases to former Caroni employees
- Regularization of the status of farmers squatting on Caroni lands
- Compensation to 9000 former employees of Caroni 1975 Ltd
- Purchase of pension annuities for former Caroni employees
- Construction of access roads for 17 agricultural estates and 28 subdivisions
- Revision of the agricultural incentive programme
- A survey of the socio-economic conditions in the former sugar areas
- A Strategic Environmental Assessment in view of establishing an environmental stability programme for the ca. 77 000 acres of land previously owned by CaronI
Also addressing the Media Conference was Senator the Honourable Dr. Bhoendradatt Tewarie, Minister of Planning and the Economy.