While there have been recent protests over deplorable roads in the country, a Princes Town family is now claiming that repairs to a landslip are destroying their property.
Without warning or consultation, the Jagroop family complained that a contractor, hired by the Ministry of Works and Transport to repair a landslip at Lengua Road, bulldozed 250 of their fruit trees and conducted excavation works across four lots of their land.
Complaining that their home is now in jeopardy, Rajdaye Jagroop said, “Right now our house is being jeopardised because the Ministry of Works never informed us they were coming to do any retaining wall, building any road. They never let us know anything. This private property. They not supposed to be on private property without informing the owners. Right now there is severe damages to we property. Over 250 bearing fruit trees they just destroy. They asked nobody, they did what they want.”
She said they begged the contractor not to do any work close to their retaining wall, but the contractor they claimed told them the ministry gave him permission to do the work.
She said cracks were also appearing on their retaining wall and house.
The mother of two complained that her children’s online classes were also being affected.
“It really difficult, 12 o’clock in the night pound, pound, pound, badang. My child scared, get up bawling and crying in the night. That hurt me. My child is an asthmatic child,” she said.
She lives with her husband, two children and sister-i- law and they are scared that their home would crumble.
“I’m very fearful and I’m very fearful for my children life because we could be sleeping and anything can happen now I don’t know what’s going to happen,” she lamented.
Jagroop explained that they would sell the fruits from their trees, including coconut, sapodillas, lime oranges, mango to name a few, which would yield about $80,000 a year in income.
Although the landslip has existed for over 12 years, she said it never affected their property because of their land and trees.
She said they sent the ministry a notice about their concerns but they got no response.
The family has since sought legal representation from attorneys Prakash Ramadhar and Ted Roopnarine, but they want to meet with the minister.
In response, the ministry stated that before the commencement of the project, the PURE Unit documented the existence of three coconut trees, one Sapodilla tree and numerous patches of bamboo on the existing property.
The owners, according to the ministry, were informed that they would be compensated for their crops. The ministry further claimed that the owners provided consent for the contractor to utilise their property to access the project site.
“However, due to the ministry’s inability to accommodate a request by the Jagroop family, which falls out of the scope of works for the project, there has been some point of contention,” the ministry said.
With regards to the damage of the property, the ministry stated that it has not conducted a conditioning survey on the property and cannot confirm claims of cracks to the existing infrastructure. But, they will look into the owners’ claims.
The ministry added that the external barrier for this property was primarily a chain-link fence and not a retaining wall.
The ministry stated that last Wednesday extensive repair work commenced on the landslip and is about 15 per cent completed. The project is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2022, with two retaining walls being completed by January 2022.