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Saturday 23 June 2018
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Tobago

32-year wait for compensation

How can we move forward and not take care of people in the past?

Resident Rodney Ryan has been waiting 32 years for compensation for his land which was acquired by Government to build the ANR Robinson International airport (Crown Point airport).

“They are moving forward with this new terminal, but they still haven’t compensated persons for the lands they took in the past. I am waiting 32 years. I’ve gone to )government) ministers, I’ve gone into the departments and asked questions as to how I go about getting information to get what my family is entitled to.

“How can we move forward without taking care of the people from the past and what rights do I have as a person who feels that they are now going to rob everybody else”” Ryan asked.

He was seeking advice at a legal clinic organised by the Minority Council for residents who were told by Tobago House of Assembly that lands in Bon Accord/Crown Point would be acquired by Government to build a new airport terminal.

The clinic was held at the PanAm building in Crown Point and facilitated by attorney Kelvin Ramkissoon.

Responding to Ryan’s plight, Ramkissoon said:

“I am really flabbergasted to hear after 32 years and after so many years, people have not been compensated. Your only recourse is to initiate some course of legal action.”

Another resident, Alex Gift, encouraged residents to fight for their rights.

“…nobody could uproot you from where you live without properly giving you an explanation or proper compensation for what you have…The same way they are planning, it is the same way we can plan…,” he said.

Another resident, Bernard Henry raised the issue of corruption in the process of land acquisition at the expense of the residents.

Ramkissoon replied:

“One window of opportunity, I don’t want to use the word corruption, where lands could be channelled to other parties is that the state identifies X amount of land to be acquired, in the plans it may be a genuine situation where they feel they need it and they acquire it, they serve a section 3 notice (but) it is not eventually used in the project, that has happened before. “Where those lands could fall is anybody’s guess, you be the judge, I don’t want to say but the window of opportunities exists for all sorts of circumstances.”

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