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Mp for San Fernando West Faris Al-Rawi, right, speak with residents of Bayshore in Marabella during the sod-turning ceremony for the Bayshore Housing project yesterday.

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Attorney General and Member of Parliament for San Fernando West Faris Al-Rawi yesterday rubbished suggestions that the housing development at Bayshore, Marabella, set to begin in short order, is an election gimmick.

This as he promised the 2,200 residents homes and land tenancy exactly four weeks before the general election.

Asked about his promises being perceived as enticements by the ruling People’s National Movement ahead of the August 10 General Election, following his address to residents at the project’s sod turning, he said: “That’s why I told you this started several years ago. Go back and check your records…in 2016 I started with two homes, so how could that possibly be an election gimmick?”

Less than 24 hours before his address, Agriculture Minister and the PNM candidate for Chaguanas East Clarence Rambharat also promised squatters in Enterprise, Chaguanas, tenure for the land they were occupying. At the same event in Enterprise, however, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley said Government was still trying to dissuade people from squatting.

Al-Rawi noted yesterday that tenure and tenancy were two different entities legally.

During his address, he explained to the residents that when the project is completed they will be able to have tenancy beginning at “three years and is then converted into 99 years.”

“When you own your property and you have your tenancy, you can leave it to your children. You can go to the bank. You can tell your neighbour this is my piece of land and that is your piece of land. You can sell your property,” Al-Rawi told the residents as he painted a picture of their future after the project.

The AG said the project will be completed in six months and will create 400 homes on 40 acres of land. The phase launched yesterday will begin on five acres. He said the land will be mixed-use, offering residential living as well as agricultural farming.

The residents of the area are mainly squatters and San Fernando Mayor Junia Regrello agreed with Al-Rawi’s sentiments that the project will now allow for residents to have access to better resources and necessities to uplift themselves.

The project is being carried out by the Urban Development Company of Trinidad and Tobago (UDeCoTT) and the Land Settlement Agency (LSA).

However, Al-Rawi was unable to give a cost of the project.