Seventy-four families have so far been granted 99-year leases for land they have been occupying for up to 40 years on the Adelphi Estate, Mason Hall in north Tobago. A further 20 are to be distributed shortly by the Tobago House of Assembly (THA), bringing the total leases to date to 94.
Of the 74 distributed to date, 22 families received their leases on Thursday night at the Mason Hall Secondary School during the THA Executive Council “Reporting to the Districts” programme.
The legal fees and registration of the 99-year leases are being paid for by the THA which purchased the 49-acre estate in 2008 for an estimated $13 million. A year later the estate was surveyed at the expense of the THA to prepare boundaries and cadastral sheets in preparation of leases to the occupants. The THA later provided the families with letters of comfort which they could have used to transact business deals.
Speaking at the meeting in the Scarborough/Calder Hall district, area representative and Chief Secretary Orville London assured those who did not yet received their leases that their turn will come. He said: “The presentation of the leases represents this whole thing about trust and confidence because when the THA took the decision to purchase the estate using Tobago’s people money to help Tobagonians there were the naysayers and the sceptics and the critics who said London and them mamaguying the people of Tobago.”
He added that some people were prepared to use the law to prevent the THA from doing what it wanted to do to help the people of Mason Hall. “I want all of those who were going around on microphones and all of those who were coming into your houses to tell you that London was mamaguying you by giving you a letter of comfort, tell them to come and tell Mason Hall people something now, tell them that because the proof of that pudding is in the hands of 22 proud families this evening and will be in the hands of 19 more within the week and will be in the hands of a hundred more within the next two to three months,” London added.