Residents who will have to make way for the ANR Robinson Airport Expansion Project say with Christmas a few weeks away, they will not be able to celebrate after they were given notices to evacuate their properties within seven days.
The residents said they now feel betrayed, as their MP, Shamfa Cudjoe, had promised them further discussions on compensation for their properties.
Guardian Media visited Gaskin Bay Road, Crown Point, yesterday, where a few residents gathered in the street comparing letters they found posted on their doors. Still holding on to hope someone will help them, many said they didn’t want to be identified, fearing victimisation. They said felt powerless, as they do not have deeds for the lands they occupy.
Resident Sandra Singh said she has been occupying a parcel of land for eight years and NIDCO officials came to them and promised she would be treated fairly.
“They come and they said if we sign a document they would make sure that we get at least something to get a start. Now is seven days they give us. I have grandchildren, where I finding place to rent in seven days?” Singh asked.
But another resident, Wolwin Lovell, believes he is being victimised for being vocal about the injustices being meted out to the Crown Point residents. As one of the key members of the Provide Equivalent Equitable Compensation for Everyone (PEECE) movement, Lovell said he was previously listed as having been compensated for the property but said that was not the case.
“In 2018 they say that I was compensated for my property. I have all my documents showing where I paid for my property and it is still in my name. Their lawyers did their own search and they realized that the property was still my property, so how could they send me this notice when I am still in negotiations?”
Lovell said the property at Crompstain Trace, which currently has two buildings, has been through several forms of verification. He said while he plans to take legal action against the Government, he feels heartbroken for his six neighbours, many of whom have children and were served notices yesterday. He also took Cudjoe to task for failing to represent her constituents
“Last week, the representative for Tobago West Shamfa Cudjoe held a virtual meeting with us. She said that in three weeks’ time they will be coming and talk to the people so that they would get their compensation package through NIDCO. It’s a slap in the face to receive a section five notice which states that in seven days’ time we need to come off our property.”
Contacted last evening, however, NIDCO chairman George said as far as he was aware, the notices were reminders for residents come in and negotiate.
“Residents were previously served section four notices but they are not making themselves available for negotiations with NIDCO. So the notices they received today are reminder notices indicating that section four notices were served and so far NIDCO has not heard from them to negotiate their claims.”
Efforts to reach Cudjoe were unsuccessful.