Chief Secretary Farley Augustine and a team from the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) on Tuesday met officials from China Railway Construction Ltd, the main contractor for the $1.2 billion airport expansion project.
Augustine confirmed the meeting in a Facebook post. Also attending the meeting were electoral representative for Bon Accord/Crown Point Joel Sampson and Secretary of Infrastructure, Quarries and Urban Development Trevor James.
Augustine said, "We met with China Railway today as we seek to protect the interests of the residents in Crown Point that are being forced from ancestral lands for the airport development.
"Additionally, the THA has been present at all the meetings held among the parties/stakeholders as we seek to resolve this matter in the interest of the residents of Crown Point and by extension the people of Tobago. The next meeting of stakeholders will be tomorrow."
Tuesday's meeting came less than two weeks after families in Zone D of the project, on Crompston Trace Extension, Bon Accord were left stunned as China Railway workers, accompanied by police, entered their homes on August 11 in an eviction attempt. Furniture and other items were removed and left at the side of the road. Tensions flared between residents and China Railway workers as THA secretaries and assemblymen gathered to show residents their support.
But after hours of heated confrontation, residents were allowed to stay until the matter is resolved in the court.
The Judiciary confirmed on August 12 that "as a result of hearings before the court on August 8 and 9, an undertaking was given by the Minister of Agriculture, Lands and Fisheries through the Attorney General of TT not to issue a Warrant of Possession pursuant to Section 30 of the Land Acquisition Act against the occupiers and/or owners of Plot Number N61A, Bon Accord, Tobago, said to belong now or formerly to Jocelyn Mc Kenna, Horace Henry and others. That undertaking continues until August 26, 2022."
Augustine said the THA stands with the residents in their fight for respect and compensation from the State.
The National Infrastructure Development Company Ltd (Nidco) is managing the project and has put aside $300 million for the land-acquisition process.