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Wednesday 15 August 2018
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Tobago

Charles: Fair treatment for residents on land acquisition

Property owners whose lands are to be subjected to compulsory acquisition to make way for a new $500 million terminal building for ANR Robinson International Airport would be treated fairly.

So said Chief Secretary Kelvin Charles, speaking to reporters at the Magdalena Grand Beach and Golf Resort in Lowlands on Monday where he was attending the Financial Intelligence Unit’ Annual Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Financing of Terrorism Conference.

The THA, in conjunction with Airports Authority is seeking to acquire 84 acres of land, relocating 120 residents and land owners to facilitate landowners for the new terminal building, construction of which was supposed to start in December.

The property owners were told of this intention on May 14 at a public consultation at the Rovanel’s Conference Centre but few details of the project were given beyond the need for the land and start date of construction.

Charles, who met with acting Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Colm Imbert last Friday, said some guarantee was given.

"The meeting really was to discuss the project in general terms and to ensure that some of the comments that we would have received from the land owners and property owners were in fact discussed or raised… I can say to you that we were given the assurance that the Ministry of Finance will find the funds to compensate all those who would be affected and indeed as would have been stated in the consultation, there are other options that we are looking at in terms in an attempt to bring equity and fairness to the process,” he said.

He said the intent was to treat all persons honestly.

Also asked about the short notice given to the residents, Charles said:

“…we are considering the possibility that given the construction time and that there would be essentially two phases, the first phase would deal with the construction of the terminal building, carpark and ramp and the second phase would deal with road construction and so on…the possibility does exist that not everyone would be required to move at the same time and therefore it would allow for some additional time for settling and transition.”

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