Outgoing Speyside/L’Anse Fourmi/Parlatuvier representative Farley Augustine has promised that a Progressive Democratic Patriots (PDP)-run Tobago House of Assembly (THA) will ensure Tobagonians own and manage all the businesses in the new ANR Robinson Airport.
He was addressing the opening of the PDP’s Canaan/Bon Accord office at Busy’s Hardware, Milford Road, on Wednesday.
The PDP’s candidate for the area in the January 25 THA election is newcomer Joel “Nuttsy” Sampson.
He is being challenged by outgoing Secretary in the Division of Settlements, Urban Renewal and Public Utilities Clarence Jacob, who represented the area over the past four years.
Augustine said with all of the land being used to accommodate the expansion of the airport, Tobagonians will have first preference in operating businesses.
“With a PDP-run THA, I will let you know that all the attending services in that place will belong to Tobagonians,” he told supporters. “It means that you must have all of the supporting businesses for the airport.
“They (government) can’t run you from your land and bring someone else to open up business around, casinos and hotels and concessionary stands. No. You must be the openers of your own economy. So let me put that out there first.”
The PDP deputy leader, who is re-contesting the seat, said he is not against progress, but the way the government is handling the land acquisition process leaves a lot to be desired.
He said: “While the State has powers in what we call compulsory acquisition, if a government is really a caring and loving government, they will handle that matter much more delicately. You will not be rushed out of your ancestral lands so that the one per cent from Trinidad could come and take your land.”
Augustine claimed some of the people in Canaan/Bon Accord have not been getting value for their properties.
“Everyone knows that the price of land in the back there is high. The value is a lot, and what they have done is try to run you from your land, underpay you, don’t provide adequate support for you and your family.
“There are people in the back there that have mortgages to pay and negotiations eh done yet and they ready to run them from their land. There are people in the back there living for generations and they are living for donkey years and they are asking you to pick up and move in a few months.
“That is not trustworthy. That is not caring.”
Augustine urged Tobagonians to “stand up for your land.
“I want to say to the people in the back, you have a right to agitate for what you deserve.”