Chief Secretary, the Honourable Ancil K. Dennis, has announced changes to the relocation policy surrounding the A.N.R. Robinson International Airport (ANRRIA) project. This, he says, comes after listening to the plight of those affected and recognizing the need to evolve.
“I have repeatedly asked persons to reach out to my office or to the Airport Relocation Committee, if they feel that they are being treated unfairly. And, some have done exactly that and highlighted their specific circumstances. The Tobago House of Assembly has a responsibility to ensure that the process is seamless so we have made some changes to our policy approach, in line with their concerns,” he said.
As such, the Chief Secretary announced three adjustments at last week’s THA Post Executive Council Media Briefing. They are as follows:
- Multiple persons living in the same household or persons living on land containing multiple households now have access to more than one parcel of land at the Shirvan Development. Land will be provided at the residential rate of $30 per sq. ft., subject to availability.
- The Cove Development, which was identified strictly for persons relocating their businesses, will now accommodate residential properties. This is reserved for those persons in situations identified in #1 above and they will be housed in areas that are appropriately zoned, subject to availability. The purchase price of $30 per sq. ft. will also apply, instead of the commercial rate of $50 per sq. ft.
- Persons who have been compensated for rent, but who may have exhausted those allocations and not yet completed the negotiation process to allow them to start building their new homes, will receive one additional year’s rent. This will be done by granting a further subsidy on the cost of the land.
The Chief Secretary further explained that the change in approach was needed in order to address the needs of affected persons, at this point in time, and designed to assist them in moving forward.
He underscored the tremendous importance of the Airport Relocation Project to the people of Tobago and the future and fortunes of the island, especially in the Tourism sector, but emphasized that it is more important to show empathy for those affected.
“While there is a price attached to development, the THA is ensuring that all affected persons are taken care of as far as is possible and as far as the law provides. It is necessary for us to continue to make adjustments in order to treat with the specific difficulties and circumstances being experienced by those who are impacted by the move,” he concluded.