THE sugar factories and the preservation of the sugar history of Trinidad and Tobago are two completely separate matters.
Responding to an urgent question in the Senate yesterday, Agriculture Minister Clarence Rambharat said in relation to the preservation of the sugar history, Sevilla House, a historic building in Couva, had been identified for conversion into a sugar museum to store the written records which have already been archived and to put on display on the grounds around Sevilla House equipment and other things related to the history of the sugar industry of Trinidad and Tobago.
“Sevilla House is as historic and as connected to the sugar industry as we could get and substantial sums were already spent to preserve that building and to also put on display some of the elements of the sugar history in this country,” he said.
“In the dismantling of the factories we are talking about things not related to manufacture of sugar,” he said.
He added however that there would be items put on display as part of the sugar museum.
“So the factories are distinct from the sugar museum,” Rambharat stressed.
He said he had taken note of newspaper articles on the issue and the petition that was circulating.
He said however he believed that much of it was driven by misinformation.
The process of demolishing the sugar mills at Usine Ste Madeleine and Brechin Castle has caused a petition to be drafted to save the historic factories.
Rambharat said the management of the former Caroni assets was the responsibility of four Ministries- Finance, Rural Development and Local Government, Culture and Community Development and Agriculture.
He said in 2003 a decision was taken to discontinue factory operations at Brechin Castle and through the Vesting Act of June 2006, the assets of the former Caroni (1975) Ltd were distributed to the Sugar Manufacturing Company and Rum Distillers.
He said in 2009, a decision was taken to dismantle the factory at Brechin Castle and the one at Usine Ste Madeleine and to put in place arrangements for the other non-sugar assets under the Sugar Manufacturing Company.