The Tobago House of Assembly’s (THA) Chief Secretary Farley Augustine said the THA did not stop the Commissioner of State Lands from evicting Tobago residents over the Tobago airport terminal project.
In an update on Thursday night, Augustine said the THA received this update and does not know who gave the instruction:
“English is very difficult for some to understand. Nothing in this release and in particular the paragraph highlighted suggests that the THA instructed the Commissioner of State Lands; only that they received instructions to halt.
“In fact, the THA did not know who gave the instruction and does not care who gave the instruction, once the family is not being unfairly put out of their homes (2 dwelling units on the same lot of land) with little compensation. Lawyers from across the space have been talking to each other and have been at it all day until the Commissioner of State Lands called off the demolition exercise.
“While we agree that the building of the terminal is important, we strongly believe that the residents must be treated fairly.”
The THA said in a statement on August 11 that the Commissioner of State Lands received instructions to halt the eviction process, and that the residents and their attorney received an emergency hearing, and were preparing to go to court on Thursday evening.
The THA said the previous injunction was filed by residents in which the THA was named as one of the defendants.
The THA said the Office of the Chief Secretary was informed that personnel sent from the Commissioner of State Lands left the site.
The THA said area representative, Assemblyman Joel Sampson stayed in the area to ensure the affected family was properly accommodated until the matter was settled.
The THA said options were also being explored for available housing for a smooth transition for affected families.
The THA said it’s seeking external counsel in the interest of the affected Tobagonians and an update on the selected counsel would be made available once details are finalised.
The development comes as government proceeds with the development of the ANR Robinson International Airport Expansion Project which will include the construction of a new terminal and several other upgrades, including an expansion of the tarmac and a new car park.
Government said approval had been granted for the payment of compensation to 24 property owners for the purpose of the project.
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