The Tobago House of Assembly (THA) will take the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources to court over the National Reforestation and Watershed Rehabilitation Programme.
THA Chief Secretary Orville London said that there has been an impasse between the THA and the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources over the reforestation programme.
“We have decided in the Assembly that the way to have this matter resolved is to apply to the court for an administrative order,” London said.
The court will decide on two areas where the THA believes its rights have been infringed. The THA is challenging the decision of the Ministry on interfering with the “management and/or implementation of the National Reforestation and Watershed Re-habitation Programme in Tobago by terminating the services of community groups which were contracted in Argyle, Speyside and Bell Garden and replacing them with their own officials,” London said.
The THA is also challenging the decision of the Green Fund Executing Unit of the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources for funding from the Green Fund, “where they were claiming that they could not treat with the Assembly’s request, because in their opinion the Assembly’s request was not in sync with the national programme with relation to reforestation. It is the Tobago House of Assembly who is responsible for setting up and implementing its own programme in Tobago,” London said.
London also expressed concern that workers under the Ministry have been operating on private lands. “This is in breach of the conditions under which this programme has been set up,” he said.
The reforestation programme was established in 2003 with an aim to diminish the deterioration of the environment.