Final designs for the construction of a new terminal building for the ANR Robinson International airport and associated works would only be available in the last quarter of 2018.
So said Zola Joseph, Corporate Communications Manager at the Airport Authority (AATT), responding to an emailed query on Monday on when plans for the proposed terminal will be made available to the public.
Joseph also said the new terminal and associated works will be done using a Design, Build, Finance approach.
“Under this approach, later this year, a public Request for Proposals (RFP) will be issued. While conceptual designs have been developed in consultation with the THA (Tobago House of Assembly), and with full consideration of industry trends, additional consultations will be held with key stakeholders before finalising the RFP for prospective proposers.
“The RFP will invite suitably qualified companies to submit proposals to design, build and finance the new terminal and associated works,” she said.
Joseph said the successful proposer would have responsibility for designing the terminal.
“Hence, it is estimated that the final designs for the new terminal and associated works will only be available in the last quarter of 2018,” she added.
On May 14, the THA and AATT held what it termed a public consultation at the Rovanel’s Resort and Conference Centre on Store bay Local Road. There resident were informed that lands spanning the area south of the Store Bay Local Road between Gaskin Bay Road on the east and Store Bay Feeder Road on the west has been earmarked for acquisition.by Government lands for the project.
Some 120 residents have been identified as property owners who would be affected in the land acquisition process.
Asked about this process, Joseph said:
“After the necessary lands have been acquired, work will commence to prepare the acquired areas for construction of the new terminal and associated works.
“Field work will soon begin to confirm social survey information on affected persons such as names, addresses, contact information and data on properties. The process of property valuations, land surveys, receiving title opinions and negotiations will then ensue. The residents will be contacted individually, and each treated on a case by case basis with a view to reasonable and fair settlement.”
Since the May 14 meeting, affected residents have since formed themselves into a committee with member Rhonda Hackett, one of the group’s members, saying the intent is to seek the interest of the community.
“A lot of the people were caught off guard with the abrupt notice given…I think that very little consideration was given to the social impact of such abrupt notice on the lives of the individuals who live in and around the area,” Hackett said.
“Some persons were traumatised in one way or another from the shock of the news. Not being familiar with the whole process of an acquisition; what you need to do, what needs to get done, all those details…
“While you may be on a platform speaking out to a mass of people, you don’t know how persons would have been receiving the information individually and how much they understand. How the persons with the specific and individual needs would be treated with, all those things were left hanging and while it is you may have thrown out certain expectations, it is also important to hear from the people themselves if you wish to seek their best interest as best as you possibly can,” she said.
Hackett said residents also wanted more information on the project as well as on plans a for relocation and compensation and have called for reconsidering of the December timeline given for the start of the project.
“There is no place prepared (to relocate to), there are no homes available, logistics have not been worked out,” she said.
Meanwhile, at a a free legal clinic last Monday, hosted by the THA Minority Council, Attorney Kelvin Ramkissoon told residents that under the land laws of Trinidad and Tobago, Government has a right to acquire lands for public purposes, but this must be balanced against the rights of citizens.
He said when the lands have been identified, Government must publish the information in the daily newspapers or in the Gazette and serve a Section 3 notice… that authorises the Commissioner of State Lands and State agents to come into the land to conduct certain tests.
“You can’t really do anything about it, but you must know what is going on. You must know whether the lands are required, what compensation am I entitled to,” he told residents.
Ramkissoon cited the case of acquisition of private lands for construction of the Point Fortin Highway in Trinidad, saying that a case must be made for a similar process to be applied for Tobago.
He said that months before, parcels of lands for resettlement to house those residents in Claxton Bay and in other parts of Trinidad were identified and these sites included infrastructure, roads, fire hydrants, water and electricity.