(TRINIDAD GUARDIAN) Curepe residents in the path of the proposed interchange want the Commissioner of Valuations to appoint an independent negotiator or take up the mantle himself to settle their outstanding compensation matters.
The residents say they are in full support of the highway development but through spokesman Rudy Singh, they are accusing representative of the Commissioner of Valuations Marlene Agge of not acting in the spirit of good faith towards them.
On Tuesday, Works and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan told Parliament a settlement had been reached with the residents.
But as of 6 pm yesterday, Singh said no settlement had been arrived at. He said Sinanan was not “being truthfully informed” and was being “deliberately embarrassed.”
Singh said Sinanan held a cordial meeting with the residents last Friday and expressed his concern for the welfare of the residents. He said Sinanan went so far as to indicate he did not want to see the residents “dispossessed.”
However, he said what had been happening with Agge was another matter. A meeting was planned with Agge for yesterday, but she cancelled it half an hour before its start. He said Agge had asked them for evidence to substantiate their claims, which was done, but those claims were rejected. He said valuations for the residents were done by three former senior valuators, one of whom was a former commissioner of valuations.
As such, Singh said, they were calling on the Commissioner of Valuations to appoint an independent negotiator.
A property owner who spoke with the T&T Guardian on condition of anonymity said all they were asking for is “fair compensation.” The owner added that they were fearful the state could invoke the land acquisition act and take possession of their properties.
Contacted on the concerns of the residents, Sinanan said his ministry did not deal with valuations.
“The Commissioner of Valuations works for the Minister of Finance. Those complaints should be channelled to the minister,” Sinanan said, adding he was awaiting a report and had to wait for directions from the Commissioner of Valuations.