Minister of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries Clarence Rambharat has defended the decision to evict Pastor Esther Cruickshank and the Soul Revival Kingdom Ministries, which she leads in Carlsen Field.
On Tuesday, the pastor said she would not be leaving the premises and that she and her 22 parishioners would not be taking the issue lightly.
Pastor Cruickshank also explained that the church began occupying the land in 2017 following a meeting with officials from the offices of State Lands.
She also said, that a verbal agreement was reached and no written documents by way of leases or legal paperwork were given to the church to occupy the land that once housed Tanteak Limited.
But yesterday Minister Rambharat took to his social media page to give the State’s side of the story.
He said, “I can say that after receiving complaints of squatting on this site, I first intervened in December 2018.”
The minister said as the squatting continued and steps were being taken by those occupying the land to open a car wash on the site and also expand a scrap metal recycling operation (reported by him to the EMA in 2018 and 2019) he again intervened.
“I personally visited the site last week, photographed the activities and gave instructions to the Commissioner of State Lands to protect the State’s valuable asset,” said Minister Rambharat.
He added, “I would defend my actions when called upon to do so.”
The church moved into Carsen Field in 2012 and was reportedly formed some ten years ago.
Pastor Crucikshank said she, along with parishioners and residents, have planned a demonstration for later this month to protest the eviction.