PEECE residents who will be affected by the ANR Robinson International Airport expansion project are once again calling on the Tobago House of Assembly to “do right by its people.”
Known as the Provide Equivalent Equitable Compensation for Everyone (PEECE) Movement, group representatives held a press conference at TRICO Building, Signal Hill on January 16, saying the residents will not be moving until they are satisfied with relocation plans.
They accused the THA of misleading the public.
Leader of the group Rhonda Hackett explained, “The last time we met officially with the THA was in August of last year. We were promised that one of our members would be appointed to the Relocation Committee that has not happened.”
She said the chief secretary has stated that some persons have received money and they are happy.
“We checked with residents in the area and we can’t identify any of those persons.”
According to Hackett, chief secretary Kelvin Charles urged residents to engage a valuer, as the government will offer cash as compensation. She said her valuer spoke to NIDCO and they have indicated that they are not ready for negotiations.
Hackett said meanwhile, some residents have officially been issued eviction notices.
“Section 4 notices were gazetted on September 6, it therefore means that based on that law, persons have to leave before the end of February.”
Hackett described this as “totally unacceptable and inhumane” as the chief secretary promised that residents would be allocated residential plots at Shirvan and Courland.
“The only thing that we have seen is the land being cleared, just dirt and mud. Where are these persons supposed to move to?”
The chief secretary previously said that the project is under the purview of the central Government and the role of the THA was to ensure a smooth transition for residents.
The group leader said this does not reflect the THA’s readiness for more self-control.
“How can we be seeking internal self-government and greater autonomy and responsibility when the very power that we now have under the law is being taken or given away by the THA.”
According to Hackett, the residents are willing to give up their property for the greater good of the citizenry, but they too must progress instead of being oppressed and stagnated.
She said the residents plan to remain put until they are satisfied that their needs have been met.