Crown Point, Block D residents, say they will protest the permanent closure of the southern part of Silk Cotton Trace today. They live in an area acquired by the Government for the ANR Robinson Airport expansion project.
The Government’s contractor, China Railway Construction Caribbean Ltd document, indicated the road south at the TSTT Exchange at Store Bay Local road to the intersection with Cromstain Trace was permanently closed to the public on July 1, 2020.
The document indicated that the road’s closure is documented in the Trinidad and Tobago Gazette and the Division of Infrastructure, Quarries and Environment notice of June 25, 2021.
Residents said officials visited on August 5 and gave them notices again. Officials also regularly announce the road’s closure via loudspeakers, they also said.
However, the 40 residents, some from the Provide Equitable Equivalent Compensation for Everyone Movement(PEECE), told Guardian Media they do not want the road to be closed.
Wolwin Lovell, a group member, stressed that villagers accept the airport expansion project.
Asked why they oppose the road’s closure, he said emergency vehicles can not easily access the only entrance they must now use.
“Look at the road. Those wires are low, and the road is narrow, so fire services vehicles cannot come up there properly,” he said, pointing to the road north along Store Bay Feeder Road.
“We are willing to cooperate with the powers that be, but they want to treat us as though we are wild animals. We are saying compensate the people here in Block D. Let us get our pay package now. We are willing to move,” Lovell said.
People in Block D received notice of the airport’s expansion during Prime Minister Patrick Manning’s term in office.
Some claimed they were not compensated for their properties.
Guardian Media reached out to Chief Secretary Ancil Dennis for comment on the situation. He said he is awaiting information on the issue.
According to the Ministry of Finance, so far, 115 Crown Point property owners were paid approximately $183 million for 30.33 acres of the 53 acres needed for the airport expansion project.