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Sunday 16 June 2019
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Too much uncertainty

Curepe residents lament as gov’t moves to claim homes

What was once a thriving business is now an abandoned building as curepe residents leave their homes to make way for the Curepe Interchange.
What was once a thriving business is now an abandoned building as curepe residents leave their homes to make way for the Curepe Interchange.

WHETHER Curepe residents like it or not, a flyover will be built at the Curepe Interchange, where several families have run businesses and lived for generations. Some residents have already moved out, but with Government seeking warrants for the remaining properties, others are lamenting the loss of their homes and whether their families will survive uprooting themselves for the sake of progress.

One such resident, a 40-year-old business owner, sat in his home office yesterday reading files with a bewildered look, and asking himself what he could do for his family, who have lived in the house for four generations, and his business, which has been in existence for over 25 years.

He told Newsday, while Government moved to have judges sign warrants for the residents’ to be evicted, he had not even had his land and property valued, or been given an offer for them.

“Really and truly, I don’t know what to do right now,” said the father of four, who did not wish to be named. “My grandmother lived here, my father grew up here, I grew up here and now my children are here.

“Since 2013 I could not afford to buy stocks because I do not know when I would have to move. I would still take a chance and buy goods just to keep afloat. I have to turn away customers as well, because I could not produce. I am uncertain about what is going on.

“I might have to wait until next week or week after to do the valuation and to get an offer. I have to start to move because I can’t wait. I want to move, but I cannot without proper compensation.”

He said part of his land – some 104 square metres – was first expected to be used, but government-sanctioned valuators told him he should find out the value for his entire property, as the remaining land would have no road access.

Other affected residents said yesterday they were trying to be as cordial as possible while the negotiations go on, but were asking to be treated fairly while the current offer did not compare to the value of their homes.

Newsday was told earlier that the land was valued by government officials at $175 per square foot, while residents wanted it valued at $250.

Government accused the residents of using delay tactics and trying to hike the price of the land to 300 per cent of its actual value. But the residents said they were given the figure by valuators who were suggested by the Government.

The government can legally evict owners from property required for a public purpose, though they must be compensated. The Ministry of Works and Transport has asked for a warrant to evict five residents expected to be displaced by the construction of the flyover. Once the warrants are signed, the residents will no longer own the property they occupy, and will be evicted, by force if necessary.

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