Members of the Save our Orange Grove Savannah Committee yesterday moved to halt construction of the $190 multi-sport facility at Eddie Hart Grounds, Tacarigua, after bulldozers and other equipment returned to the area to grade the land for construction.The members sent another legal letter to the lawyer of the Sport Company of T&T yesterday after contractors, acting on behalf of the company, began to clear the land. The letter was hand-delivered at approximately 2 pm yesterday.
A release sent to the media yesterday by the committee said: "At this time several angry residents from Tacarigua (and environs) have clashed with workers who have been contracted by the Sports Company to bulldoze the southern end of the Eddie Hart grounds to make way for a complex."There is a wide view that the Government failed to consult with residents and that the construction of the proposed complex will be more harmful than beneficial for the area."
Environmentalist and PRO/secretary of the committee, Dr Carol James, said in a phone interview the residents saw what was happening and tried to ascertain from the operators of the equipment what was happening. James said she was surprised when she heard the work was continuing.
She said that occurred even after Legal Affairs Minister and MP for St Augustine Prakash Ramadhar told residents he had taken a note to Cabinet and it agreed the project ought to be stopped until all legal requirements had been fulfilled, including a certificate of environmental clearance from the Environmental Management Authority and there had been consultation.The residents said Ramadhar felt the pre-action protocol letter they sent on October 11 weighed heavily on Cabinet's decision.
James said while no further work had been done after the legal letter was dispatched, the equipment was still on the site.The residents also sent a petition with approximately 2,000 signatures to Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar seeking her intervention.
The petition, which is online at avaaz.org, stated: "The project is well advanced without community consultation. When residents 'happened upon' information on July 9, 2013, their attempts to seek clarification and negotiate a compromise for relocation to abandoned sugarcane lands across the (Churchill-Roosevelt) highway on the outskirts of the densely populated community, were met with hostile responses from the minister in charge (Anil Roberts) on September 3, 2013 that 'the project is too advanced to be stopped and will not be stopped. It is going full-speed ahead."
Calls to Ramadhar and Roberts were not answered or returned yesterday. The committee plans to meet at 3.30 pm today at the pavilion on the grounds to discuss the latest development.