Tobago Chalkie, THA feud over $153k ‘compensation’ land
Alex “Tobago Chalkie” Gift has threatened the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) with legal action over access to a parcel of land at the Shirvan Road Development. Gift was one of the residents affected by the ANR Robinson International Airport expansion project.
Gift said he was offered the land by the THA as part of the compensation package after his land was acquired by the State for the airport expansion project.
He maintains that he was given permission to begin construction on the land since September last year by an agent/servant of the Airport Relocation Committee (ARC) and did so. He said he received a letter from the ARC in January offering him the same land for sale at a cost of $153,999.30.
The Assembly, in a press release on Tuesday, said it had moved in to stop the construction on several new plots of land at the Shirvan Estate Land Development, Mt Pleasant. It said although the plots have been earmarked for residents affected by the airport expansion project, there is a protocol that needed to be followed.
In Gift’s pre-action protocol letter sent to the Assembly, his attorney Janelle Ramsaroop of Martin George and Company gave the Assembly seven days to respond to their queries and requests.
Ramsaroop said, “We are calling upon the THA to provide the legal basis upon which it has demanded this sum…from our client. We further call upon you to provide any documents which show that the THA had previously notified our client that he would be expected to pay such a sum of money in exchange for the said lot of land on Shirvan Road.”
She said the ARC’s letter in January noted that the land offer would only be valid for 45 days from the date of correspondence.
She added, “The palpable absurdity of the THA either backdating the correspondence or delivering it to our client past the due date, speaks volumes as to the manner in which the THA has managed, or shall we say mismanaged this entire land acquisition process.”
She said her client was promised a Deed of Lease for the lot of land but at no point in the previous correspondence was that contingent on him paying for the land.
“Our client subsequently invested all his savings into the construction of his dream home for himself and his family after having uprooted his entire life from his childhood home.”
She said Gift “has now been physically blocked from entering the said lot of land by several agents and/or servants of the Division of Infrastructure, Quarries, and the Environment, acting under the instructions of persons such as Allison Williams, Allan Richards and Qwesi DesVignes (sic) and although our client does not yet possess a paper title to the said lot of land, he now possesses an equitable interest as it regards same, given that he has expended his savings to build and develop the said plot of land.”
BY: KINNESHA GEORGE