The Tobago House of Assembly has been forced to halt construction on resettlement lands for those persons involved in the land acquisition for the expansion of the ANR Robinson airport.
This has become necessary, as a few residents started construction on the land, before completing the approval process for the selected parcels of land.
According to the THA, sixty parcels of land have been developed at Shirvan Road, Mt. Pleasant as a re-settlement community for affected residents. Six parcels are designated as a service area for functions such as school, green spaces, commercial activity and a utility area. The remaining fifty-four parcels are provided for those persons who were resident in the areas required for the extension of the airport and are for residential purposes only (52 families have already selected parcels of land at the Shirvan Road Development).
The THA said that in an effort to make this transition less stressful for the affected residents, they provided plots for sale to residents at prices significantly lower than market value —$30 per square foot with plots ranging from 5,000-10,000 square feet in size. The properties are for residential purposes only, with an arrangement for commercial activity already in place at Cove Estate.
However, it has come to the attention of the Tobago House of Assembly that some residents violated the terms and conditions of the arrangements at the Shirvan Road Development, by starting construction before completing the approval process for the selected parcels of land.
To occupy the land at Shirvan Road Development, residents must first settle with the State for their existing properties at Crown Point. Once they receive payment, residents must report that settlement to the THA’s Airport Relocation Secretariat.
Residents will then receive a letter of offer for the selected plot and will be given 45 days to respond. The THA has implemented the necessary systems to facilitate the sale of the plots at Shirvan Road Development and therefore, once an agreement of sale with the THA is made and the resident provides 50 percent of the payment, residents are permitted to commence construction at Shirvan Road Development.
In light of this, construction has been stopped on several new plots of land at the Shirvan Road, Mt. Pleasant Development, for some of the affected residents who breached this process.
The Tobago House of Assembly remains committed to ensure that the transition process for residents affected by the ANR Robinson International Airport project, is as smooth and as humane as possible but is also duty bound to ensure that all legal requirements of the process are followed and adhered to. The THA is also prepared to assess cases on an individual basis and provide support where deemed necessary.