In about six weeks Agnes Warner and Carolyn Mc Inroy, residents of a squatting community in Savonetta who has been issued eviction notices by eTeck, will know their faith.
Following a meeting with company officials yesterday, Indarsingh said the meeting was cordial and the company will be considering the issue of compensation and relocation for the two residents.
This comes days after eTeck moved into their community at Joseph road, Southern Main Road and bulldozed the residents’ agricultural crops.
The residents had previously rejected the company’s compensation offer, saying that it was insufficient.
Following this, the company issued eviction notices in April.
The company developing the land for the Phoenix Park Industrial Estate. Accompanied by Couva South MP Rudranath Indarsingh, Opposition Senator and attorney Gerald Ramdeen and councillor Ramchand Rajbal Maraj, the residents met with company officials and their legal team at the Tringen building at Yara Compound in Savonetta.
Although the media were invited to the meeting by the MP, company officials were not so welcoming and they were put out of the building.
Indarsingh said, “Discussions went on in relation to Mrs Warner’s and Ms Mc Inroy in relation to addressing their concerns.”
He added: “Their concerns have been one of adequate compensation and besides compensation, you cannot live under a cheque and the issue of being relocated. This will be considered by officials of eTeck in the context of through their line minister, with the Minister of Agriculture, Land and Marine Resources under whose responsibility the office of the Commissioner of State Lands falls.”
Pointing to other residents who were outside the building, he said those residents are now living in fear that their homes would also be bulldozed.
He said the company has arranged for the councillor for the area to do a site visit to determine whether they live within the periphery of eTeck’s project.
“If it indeed falls under the jurisdiction of where the industrial park is to be developed, it will be considered that the appropriate compensation and relocation will be considered in the context of eTeck dialoguing with the minister of agriculture through the office of the Commissioner of State Lands as it relates to compensation and relocation,” he said.
While economic development must take place, Ramdeen said this is a lesson to the ministers, the authorities and companies involved that they are dealing with human beings.
“And what the situation demonstrates is that if a little bit of common sense was infused and a little bit of caring and humanity was infused in the situation that we would not have had to come here today and to resolve this situation and have people shedding tears. It was very difficult to sit in a meeting and see citizens of this country shedding tears and feeling the pain and the hardship of being subject to a decision for which it could have been prevented,” said Ramdeen.
He said there is an attitude in this country that poor and oppressed people who don’t seem to have resources to retain people to represent them and speak on their behalf can be taken advantage of.
“I said in the meeting we understand economic development especially coming out of COVID is extremely important for the future of Trinidad and Tobago but at the end of the day that economic development must not be at the cost of the lives of the citizenry that is important. It is the citizens that are important,” he also said
Attempts to reach eTeck’s chairman Imtiaz Rahaman and president Steve De Las, who were at the meeting, were unsuccessful last night