Trinidad: Residents in path of highway development waiting for compensation

(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.

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