Published On: Thu, Oct 24th, 2019

MP Peterson requests urgent parliament meeting with minister of VROMI to discuss land Denicio Wyatte

MP Claude Chacho Peterson - 20191024

~ Wants status update of government lease land agreement with Denicio Wyatte ~

PHILIPSBURG — MP Claude ‘Chacho’ Peterson, together with four of his parliamentary colleagues, is requesting an urgent meeting of Parliament regarding the government lease land agreement with agriculture specialist Denicio Wyatte and also requests the presence of VROMI minister Christopher Wever and ‘Acting Head’ of Domain Affairs Raeyhon Peterson.

According to a letter dated October 23rd, 2019, and undersigned by MPs Claude Peterson, Sarah Wescot-Williams, Tamara Leonard, Jules James and Sidharth Bijlani, an urgent meeting of Parliament is requested to be convened with the following agenda point:

The status update of Government lease land agreement with Mr. Denicio WYATTE, located in St. Peters and situated between Certificate of Admeasurements 109/2009, 179/1989, 323/1971, 93/1971, 69/1978 and the border with Retreat Estate.

The letter goes on to state that the presence of the Minister of VROMI Mr. Chris Wever and the Acting Head of Domain Affairs Mr. Raeyhon Peterson are requested to answer the questions of Members of Parliament.

On Tuesday, October 22nd, Denicio Wyatte gave a lengthy presentation to the members of the TEATT committee on the topic of agriculture and his issues as it pertains to the ownership and occupation of the land he is presently using for his agricultural development center.

In response to the presentation, MP Peterson pointed out that the island St. Maarten has a long history with agriculture as from in the 1950s the people of the island needed to sustain themselves with agriculture as there was no importation of goods at the time. Peterson also pointed out that from the video presentation Wyatte also gave highlighting a speech of the then Lt. Governor Ralph Richardson, it is clear that for decades politicians have played the game with the issue of agriculture.

Peterson considered the garden of Wyatte to be a political football that politicians are using to play on his success because of the awareness that Wyatte is bringing about for the possibilities of having a garden, the possibilities of growing at home, the possibilities of teaching a whole new generation the impact and the value of being able to grow vegetables themselves. Peterson said that agriculture is the one topic that tugs at people’s heart strings because we know it’s the right thing to do.

However, Peterson indicated that the sticking point for him is the situation with the land as to who owns it and the issue of the validity of the long lease of the land. Peterson directed questions to Wyatte as to the present status of that land and if Wyatte is legally operating on that land.

Denicio Wyatte in Parliament on 23 October 2019

In answer to MP Peterson’s comments and questions, Wyatte reiterated the need for land for the purpose of agriculture. Wyatte expressed his determination saying he “will not give up the land as it is in the hands of the agriculture center and it is the right thing to do for the country.” Wyatte basically blamed the lack of continuity in government for not being able to finalize the documentation for the long lease of the land. Every time there is a new minister of VROMI, he has to start the process all over again, Wyatte pointed out. Wyatte was of the opinion that any government land that is not being utilized should be given back and given to farmers to utilize it for the country of St. Maarten.

MP Peterson then closed off with his statement that the validity of Wyatte’s occupation of the land needs to be put to rest in his mind. To that end, Peterson announced that he would be calling for a meeting of parliament with the minister of VROMI to discuss the issue surrounding that piece of land.