Curepe residents who have been threatened with eviction are hoping the commissioner of valuations will return with an offer to settle before Ministry of Works and Transport officials accompanied by a High Court marshal come to evict them.
On Wednesday, the five residents who are facing eviction met with officials at the Land Settlement Agency in El Socorro. According to residents, for the first time since the impasse over their land started they were allowed to properly negotiate the property value.
Rajindra Maharaj, who is the son of one of the residents affected, said most of the residents went to Wednesday's meeting prepared to accept the 80 per cent deal which was offered to them.
The residents said they were pleasantly surprised when they were allowed to negotiate at the meeting.
"It was the first time that we were allowed to negotiate our property value," said Maharaj, who explained that the residents were told that the commissioner of valuations was expected to respond to them in a week.
However, it is unclear if the Ministry of Works will attempt to forcibly remove them from their land before that response.
The High Court marshal was officially granted documentation to evict the Curepe residents on Wednesday, Ministry of Works officials confirmed.
Maharaj said Ministry of Works and Transport's officials had continuously strong-armed the residents despite the fact that negotiations had not yet been conducted, with Tuesday's press conference being the latest of such action.
He said officials regularly approached residents with threatening words as it seemed that they were placed under significant pressure to make headway on the project. That enthusiasm, Maharaj said, lead to a 52' water main being ruptured in the area, flooding the home of Shamlal Kalpatoo.
Maharaj said the residents were being portrayed as greedy when in reality they were simply looking for fair compensation.
"Let we get a fair compensation. I looked around at land prices, there is nowhere that is going for less than$200,000 residential," said Maharaj, who explained that only one of the residents had attempted to submit a valuation which far exceeded the value of their property.
He said while it was true the Government was offering land to them, the land was not fit for them to occupy immediately and it is dependent on their agreement to the 80 per cent deal being offered.
"They holding us to ransom with the lands," said Maharaj.
During Tuesday's press conference, legal adviser for the Ministry Marvin Gonzales explained that the decision to approach the court to evict was a last resort as the State came closer to incurring additional expenses to contractors due to delays on the project.
Although the marshal has been granted documentation to evict the residents, the ministry still has final say on the eviction process.