TOBAGO Forwards political leader Christlyn Moore believes the relocation of Canaan/Bon Accord residents for the airport expansion project is a matter of life and death. Moore said the trauma of losing your home to the government will prove fatal for many.
Addressing a small gathering at Silk Cotton Trace, Bon Accord, on Sunday, Moore warned of dire consequences when the land acquisition process begins.
"This airport expansion project is going to be really bad," she cautioned.
"Some of you may be saying that eh yuh business because yuh house will still be standing, but this is going to destroy this community. The landscape in this area will completely change. And elderly persons, who are going to be forced to leave their homes, some of them will not live past 12 months."
Moore added: "I say this because I have seen it happen before. I have seen it happen before on other acquisition projects where the stress of the acquisition weighs heaviest on the elderly. And the elderly, who have lived in the same spot all their lives, who raised their children and grandchildren, cannot survive. The uncertainly is too much and many of them do not make it 12 months past acquisition."
Moore, an attorney, said the issue was serious.
"This is not only about where you live. This is about who will live."
She said while some of residents who are being called upon to move may be young and strong, "they will find a way.
"But some people will not. Some people cannot and this community will see an increase in its mortality rate 12 months after acquisition. Those are the facts."
Moore urged residents to speak out.
"You have to start to speak out about what affects you. Acquisition is going to be like a train that is going to run over and through this community."
Moore said significant steps have already occurred in the acquisition process.
"Many of the residents of the area have been served with Section Three notices, which says the government can come in and they can take measures and put down pickets. What you also need to know is that the government can formerly acquire the land within two months of giving you that first notice...You will then get the second notice, which is them saying, 'This land is mine.'"
Moore asked: "You all understand the implications of that? The notices have been served three to four weeks ago. It means that the government is entitled, within the next four to five weeks, to come into your lands and say this land is mine.
"Canaan/ Bon Accord are your prepared for that? We are in the month of April. The government says it wants to start this project by November. If it wants to start this project by November, it needs you out at the earliest date. So, when you look at the timelines for construction, the peril is real and the wolf is at your door," she added.