relocation row: Rookmin Jagdeo, 72, at her home yesterday.

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‘I’m being threatened to move’

Highway extension dispute

By Sandhya Santoo sandhya.santoo@trinidadexpress.com

AN elderly woman living along the proposed Debe to Mon Desir segment of the Solomon Hochoy Highway extension to Point Fortin says she is being threatened to accept the State’s compensation and will be seeking legal advice.

Rookmin Jagdeo, 72, has refused to move from her Gopie Trace, Branch Road, home, and has turned down $500,000 in compensation.

She said a staff member employed by the  National Infrastructure Development Company Ltd (Nidco) was trying to force her to accept compensation.

Jagdeo told the Express yesterday that she had been living on two acres of State land for more than 40 years, and had legal right to the property.

She said: “I am frustrated by this and now we have to move because of the highway. I am living here so long and now I have to move. I don’t know where I would go if I leave.” 

Relatives said the woman was being harassed and she was fearful for her safety and mental stability. 

Jagdeo said she was  told if she accepts  the State’s offer or not, her house will be destroyed and Government will pay $2,000 rental fee  for one year.

Jadeo lives at the property with a son and grandson.

Her daughter, Betty Ragoonanan, said her mother was involved in a vehicular accident years ago and suffered from a head injury which causes forgetfulness.  

Ragoonanan said the construction of the highway was disrupting her mother’s life.

Nidco’s president, Dr Carson Charles, said the man who allegedly harassed Jagdeo works with a company subcontracted by Nidco to deal with property evaluation and relocation issues.

Charles also said Jagdeo’s issue has been complicated because several family members jointly own the property and everyone’s approval was needed for there to be an agreement.

He said an offer was initially made and accepted but then Jagdeo changed her mind concerning the amount she had agreed to accept.

However, he said NIDCO will be willing to assist Jagdeo  in any way it can.

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