Fiery protest over access to Couva playing field

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

File photo –

Residents of Brechin Castle in Couva held a fiery protest early on March 1, blocking the road and calling on the authorities to clarify the ownership of a playing field.

The residents, among then members of the NGO Brechin Castle United Youth Empowerment Movement (BCUYE), burned debris on Rivulet Road.

They chanted: “We not staying down, we want back we ground. Do not keep the youths down. We do not want to pick up no guns and no knives.”

The residents said they have been maintaining and using the field for agricultural and recreational purposes since Caroni (1975) Ltd closed down in 2003.

They said the land belonged to the state.

But on Thursday, representatives of someone purporting to be the owner began digging holes to put up a fence, which meant the residents would no longer have access to the property.

One protester and representative from BCUYE said the move was an illegal occupation. He called on the office of the Commissioner of State Lands and Agriculture Minister Kazim Hosein for clarity.

The protester made allegations against a businessman and a politician, accusing them of being involved in the “illegal” seizure.

The protester said Couva South MP Rudranath Indarsingh and councillor Ramchand Rajbal Maraj fully support residents.

He added that there was no crime in Brechin Castle because the people were united.

A form six student of Miracle Ministries added: “It is not fair to see the greed of corporations come out here and take what we built. We came out to help build this field. We worked hard for years to build it. It is not fair that people want to take what is rightfully ours.

“My time for playing on the field is gone. The next generation is coming in, the children who are seven and eight.

“It is not just football and cricket we use here for. We do schoolwork here and have cultural events.”

The councillor agreed the move was unfair to residents. He added that more work is expected to be done, from what they had heard.

Newsday has approached the minister for comment.