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Monday 20 May 2019
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Callender to Moore: Stop playing God

PNM Tobago Council chairman Stanford Callender
PNM Tobago Council chairman Stanford Callender

Stop playing God! This was Stanford Callender's advice to Tobago Forwards political leader Christlyn Moore, after she predicted the move to relocate Canaan/Bon Accord residents will be fatal for the elderly.

The residents are being moved as part of the land acquisition process to build a new terminal for the ANR Robinson International Airport.

Callender, chairman of the PNM's Tobago Council, said he was taken aback by Moore's statement.

"I said to myself, 'This woman is playing God.' She knows how and when people will die," he told Newsday Tobago.

Callender also regarded Moore's statement as "frightening" given the fact that she had advised Tobagonians in the run-up to the 2017 THA election to put visine in water to poison Trinidadians, whom she alleged, had come to the island to influence the election.

"Her advice, then, could have only ended up in one situation," he said.

Tobago Forwards leader Christlyn Moore

At a political meeting in Silk Cotton Trace, Bon Accord, on Sunday, Moore said she believed the community will see an increase in its mortality rate, particularly among the elderly, when the government begins acquiring lands for the project.

"I say this because 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," she told a handful of residents.

The former Tobago West MP said he attended one of the consultations for the project at Rovanel's Resort, Crown Point, "because I know acquisitions could be worrying for some people."

"I empathise with most of the people because there was a lot of passion and emotion and one could relate to those things," he said.

However, he said many of the residents' questions about the project were premature, as the government was still formulating a policy to steer the process.

"So, it is obvious the government and state agencies, including the Tobago House of Assembly, is trying to do everything that is possible to cushion the effects and save people from the trauma and minimise the effects of trauma."

Callender accused Moore of using "scare-mongering" tactics on the residents.

"For her to say people will die, to me, was a ridiculous statement from someone who wants to be a leader in this country," he said.

"As leader of the Forwards, she could have told them that she would do all in her power to ensure people were adequately compensated and the systems are just and fair. But to talk and say that the mortality rate will go up, she is playing God."

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