Naparima MP Rodney Charles is accusing Dr Rowley of spending millions of taxpayers’ dollars to ease the plight of Venezuelans while simultaneously doing everything in his power to put pressure on citizens who have lived here for generations.
Charles said this as Governor of the Central Bank admitted days ago that the cost of accommodating, as yet unspecified numbers of Venezuelans, can amount to over $620 million annually.
At the same time Dr. Rowley’s newly established Heritage Petroleum Company could find nothing better to do than bring unconscionable distress to constituent Sonah Lochan and his family by threatening to break down their small 3 bedroom wooden home.
This will leave the family of four homeless and out in the rain.
The Lochans have been occupying a small parcel of land at 9B Location Road East, Barrackpore for over thirty years. They may very well be entitled to ownership due to adverse possession. The land was previously owned by BP, then Trinidad Tesoro, lately Petrotrin and now Heritage.
Heritage Petroleum Company’s predecessor Petrotrin last year in an act of unconscionable cruelty and wickedness broke down the homes of many Santa Flora residents.
Many of these residents had voted PNM in 2015 and had lived on the company’s lands for decades and were absolutely bewildered that “their” government would render them homeless.
Petrotrin also threatened last year to destroy the homes of over 40 families and a Pentecostal church on Mussarap Trace in Barrackpore.
“They are using the flimsy excuse that the homes are near abandoned wells. “if that is true then many thousands of homes in South Trinidad have to be abandoned.”
I lived adjacent to abandoned wells at Santa Flora for over five years of my life and I am still alive, says Charles.
The area around Dalley Village is replete with abandoned wells.
In a highly intimidating letter by Heritage Petroleum, dated 3rd May 2019, the Lochan family was given 21 days to break down their home. (see attachment)
“Failure to comply shall be done solely at your own risk and Heritage shall not be held liable for any direct or indirect loss, damage, costs, expenses, claims or injury whatsoever or howsoever arising from or in connection with your unlawful trespass….”
Heritage’s predecessor company left taxpayers with a US $850 million bullet payment this year and now its successor is bringing untold hardships to citizens in Santa Flora, Barrackpore and elsewhere.
While citizens are being distressed; our government is bending over backwards, in a hurriedly, ill-conceived asylum plan, to accommodate our Venezuelan neighbors with temporary residence, jobs, access to our health and education facilities and other costly amenities.
“We have to be humane to our Venezuelan neighbors and assist them as best we can. But Rowley must be reminded that charity begins at home and his first, and sworn, obligation is to look after the wellbeing of our citizens.”
The PM at last week’s Post Cabinet said that his first loyalty was to citizens of TT.
Charles is calling on Dr. Rowley to prove it by action and not trademark PNM old talk.
The treatment accorded to families in Barrackpore and Santa Flora will tell us a lot about this administration. Does it have a conscience and whose interests it really serve?