Members of the Fort George Safety and Enhancement Group yesterday
staged a silent protest at the corner of St James Terrace
and Fort George Road. The protest was organised in support
of Quintin Padia, who claimed he was forcefully thrown off
one acre of land at Fort George in St James which he has occupied
for more than 30 years.
living in Fort George since in the 50s, but I start
living on the land about 28 years ago, Padia said.
place was a garbage dump...I started to clean it up and plant
fruit trees on the hill to preserve the land, Padia
He said he was stunned last week when two vehicles with heavily-armed
police and army officers arrived at his home.
just break down my house...I know is not my land, but look
how long I living here, he said.
Padias problems began in September last year when Housing
Minister Keith Rowley and Port-of-Spain mayor Murchison Brown
launched construction of the Vieux Fort apartment development
want to send me Duncan Street to live, but I dont want
to live there.
children grow up here and they accustomed to walking free.
I have this place looking like this
Me and my (weed)
whacker, he said.
Padia said he had his Deed of Comfort approved and that the
land was within the Squatter Regularisation Area.
However, he was told that the property was owned by the City
Corporation and not the Land Settlement Agency as he previously
Padia said there has been no suggestion of compensation for
am 53 years old, what am I supposed to do now? Padia
Member of the Fort George Safety and Enhancement Group Steve
Cupid Theodore described Padia as the kindest, most
He said due to the Housing Development Corporations
radical bulldozing, the land was already collapsing,
and would be made worse by erosion and flooding.
December 15, the HDC bulldozer began clearing Fort George
Hill...If it wasnt for the residents they would have
removed every last tree.
A small piece of land at the corner of St James Terrace and
Fort George Road bore the sign Quintin Padia Gardens, a testimonial
to Padias commitment to preserving the land.
residents here are willing to risk life and limb for this
land. We are prepared to stand before any chainsaw or bulldozer
to defend our homes, Theodore said.
He said they are seeking meetings with Public Utilities Minister
Pennelope Beckles, chief executive officer at the HDC Noel
Garcia, Rowley and Planning and Development Minister Camille