THA agrees to six-month extension of Tobago airport project

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

File photo: ANR Robinson International Airport, Crown Point, Tobago.

THE THA is supporting a six-month extension requested by residents affected by the construction of a new airport terminal at the ANR Robinson International Airport.

On August 26, residents in Zone D of the project, on Crompton Trace, off Silk Cotton Trace, were given until September 15 to vacate their properties. They have now asked for an additional six months.

The residents, said Chief Secretary Farley Augustine, were expected to return to court on Friday, as he addressed Thursday’s virtual post Executive Council media briefing.

Augustine said the matter was discussed extensively at this week’s’ Executive Council meeting.

“The THA has agreed with that extension of six months, because that will allow us the opportunity to in the most humane way facilitate people being moved. I can tell you that the state agencies from out of Trinidad, they have not agreed with the six months, so it’s left to see what the ourt will decide.”

He said it wasn’t just a matter of packing up.

“Some want to save things like their windows, or the roofing, and some critical material components that they believe would assist them in their rebuild.

“So we support that call…for the additional six-month window that is being requested by the residents that are there.”

He said notwithstanding what the court decided, the THA had decided some things would be done “to ensure that those who are affected will be treated in the most humane manner.”

“We feel in that six months, we could complete the works at Cove and Shirvan. We can even take on the gargantuan task of getting some housing units completed in time to facilitate them (there).”

He said at present, three units are available to those in immediate need and would be ready for occupation by Friday.

He said the Executive Council also decided to get some storage for the residents.

“That too will facilitate an effortless flow for those,as they eventually get to move.”

He said the Division of Infrastructure, Quarries and Public Utilities is also assiduously to complete work on the developments at both Cove and Shirvan.

He said the THA’s position has always been consistent

“We agree, we do need a new terminal. Howeve, we feel strongly that the residents must be treated fairly, they must be compensated fairly, and they must be given sufficient time in which they can move.”

He said some of the residents had finally agreed on some of the compensation they are to be given, while others still see the sum being offered as inadequate and have not accepted.

He said while all that is happening, he had one appeal “to the Central Government and the ministers involved and the prime minister, to ensure that we allow for the most humane movement of people.

“We are talking about taking lands from families – they are dispossessing them and turning them out on the streets.

“We have to be careful that in this process, that we don’t destroy the social fabric of the Crown Point area.”