and Development Minister Camille Robinson-Regis (second from
left), and Permanent Secretary Joseph Howard (from left),
Port-of-Spain Mayor Murchison Brown and acting Town and Country
Planning director Sheryl-Anne Haynes listen to contributions
from city stakeholders during yesterdays breakfast meeting.
Photo: Brian Ng Fatt
Woodbrook homeowners are receiving threats demanding they
sell their homes so business interests can take their place,
says resident Lynette Dolly.
She said the threats had been made by some real estate
agents and some business people who are trying to speculate.
Dolly, a member of the Woodbrook Residents Committee, made
the allegations yesterday.
She was interviewed by telephone from her Woodbrook home which
she intends to keep even though properties in the area are
now being sold for at least $1 million.
Real estate prices in Woodbrook and surrounding areas have
skyrocketed in the past decade as commercial activity has
taken over the once quiet residential area.
But Association of Real Estate Agents executive secretary
Mary Jardine said in a separate interview she was unaware
that any of Areas 100 members are using strong-arm tactics
in their dealings with buyers and sellers.
Association of Real Estate Agents is not aware of any such
approaches, she said.
is not something that the Association of Real Estate Agents
Dolly first brought up the issue yesterday morning at a Planning
and Development Ministry and the Town & Country Planning
Division breakfast meeting on Port-of-Spains development,
held at the Crowne Plaza hotel.
In attendance were Planning and Development Minister Camille-Robinson
Regis, Port-of-Spain mayor Murchison Brown and acting Town
and Country Planning Division director Sheryl Anne Haynes.
guidelines have been laid for where commercial leases should
be undertaken, Dolly said.
these are being flouted left right and centre and apparently
the Port-of-Spain Corporation and the Town and Country (Planning)
are unable to do anything about it.
much so that bold approaches are being made to the residents
of Woodbrook, Newtown, St James and St Clair to sell and get
residents are being bombarded with letters in their mail boxes,
phone calls and even veiled threats.
estate agencies are being requested to approach the elderly
and vulnerable in the area to sell.
when they succeed with them then theyll make life very
difficult for those of us who remain but we have no intentions
of going anywhere because the city needs to have people living
in it, she said.
During the breakfast meeting, Brown said the relationship
between residential and commercial activities in Port-of-Spain
must be urgently addressed.
city is fast losing its residential population as a result
of commercial activity overrunning residential areas,
is very much prevalent in Woodbrook and is a great source
of concern to the burgesses there.
Contacted yesterday, Jardine said the committee wrote Area
a few months ago concerning the guidelines for
the development of property in Woodbrook for commercial use
but did not mention any alleged strong-arm real estate tactics.
Furthermore, Jardine said there were about 200 real estate
agents who were not members of the association.
cannot speak for them, she said.
association has no jurisdiction over people who are not members
of the organisation.
She also said the real estate industry was not legislated
and did not answer to a regulatory body but hoped that proposed
legalisation would establish Area as such an authority.
Jardine said Area would investigate any wrongdoing once proof
WRC member Lynette Dolly complained that the lack of enforcement
of the guidelines for residential and commercial activity
has resulted in the following:
Casinos and massage parlours in the area.
Houses being used for hazardous products.
An increase in restaurants and unsanitary conditions leading
to a proliferation of rats and roaches.
Traffic congestion and illegal parking
Increased illegal street vending, vagrancy, prostitution and