Wolwin Lovell, a resident of Bon Accord, is calling on Government/Tobago House for Assembly (THA) to treat with respect and courtesy the residents whose lands they are looking to acquire to build a new airport terminal for the ANR Robinson International airport.
Lovell also said Government must provide developed lands for relocation and proper compensation to affected residents.
Lovell, who said he recently completed his home, is one 120 residents who will be affected by Government’s acquisition plans for 84 acres of lands for the new terminal.
Speaking at a free legal clinic hosted for the affected residents hosted on Monday night by the THA Minority Council at the PanAm building in Crown Point, Lovell said he was served with a compulsory acquisition letter by the Peoples National Movement (PNM) Administration on April 12, 1996.
“We looked for valuators and valued our lands, when we went to the Government, they said that they couldn’t pay us that money as it was too much. They offered $4 per square foot saying that it was agricultural lands,” he said.
Then the Government changed, and the decision to acquire the lands was overturned.
“In 2012…the UNC Government, they called us, the people of the area, to a meeting at the Airport Authority Conference Room, there were about 60 persons in that meeting… said to us, we would not interfere with you all, go ahead and develop your lands… build and establish yourselves.
“I have my deed in my possession. I now build a new building from after 2012 when they said to go ahead and build and develop. I went to Town and Country Planning Division with a plan, they passed it and I built that building.
“If you earmark an area for compulsory acquisition to build an airport, why did they (T&C) pass that plan for me to build a new building?
“They (PNM Government) come back again in 2018… Tobago people let us rise up, if we are saying that we stand side by side…we need to stand together, we need to shoulder this together, we need to walk together for one common goal, one common purpose and one common determination,” Lovell said.
In calling for respectful treatment for residents from Government/THA, he advised:
“Go and develop lands if you want to move us, you say you have lands in Friendship and in Shirvan, develop those lands, put lights, roads, all the necessities. If it takes four years, five years, then come back and talk to the people of Tobago.
“When you finish developing these lands, come with a proper package of some millions of dollars, I’m not talking about thousands.
“If you really want to move us, we are not against development in Tobago, we acknowledge that you want to develop the island and yes, we embrace it, but let us respect people, let us respect Tobagonians. We stand together with you Trinidad, but respect us… the time of you grinding metal and forcing it down our throat has long gone. It is time we move together, stand together and put away the politics,” he said.
Lovell also took the opportunity to dispel rumours that he has already received monies for his property.
“People are calling into the radio stations and saying that Wolwin Lovell received money already… I want one person to come in my face and say that I received any money from the Government. I never received any money,” he said.