Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 26th 2014 Contents A16
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Workers of the T&T Electricity Commission
(T&TEC) staged protest action yesterday at the
Arima compound over violations they say poses a
threat to their health, toppled by rumours of the
Chikungunya virus reported in the area.
The workers claimed the compound at Tumpuna
Road has failed three health inspections in the past
week. The latest inspection being done yesterday
They fear that they might contract the virus if
they report for duty.
Health officials visited the compound last week
Monday and identified several critical areas which
needed immediate attention by the T&TEC man-
agement, including an open cesspit, which has a slab
of concrete placed on it; old barrels, used tyres and
stagnant pools of water.
Tracey Shields, Health and Safety officer for the
Arima Branch under the Oilfield Workers Trade
Union said the health inspectors returned last Friday
and was dissatisfied as to what they saw.
"Recommendations were made to the management
to deal with the situation. Health officials returned
this morning (yesterday) and saw that only a small
area was cleaned over the weekend. Still, not to their
satisfaction, they again failed the inspection."
Shields promised that workers would not return
to work until their health concerns are addressed
and the Ministry of Health gives the "all clear."
"For now, we are refusing to work in an unsafe
environment under section 15-20A of the OSH Act.
It is rumored that there are two cases of Chikungunya
at Richard Trace, which is north of the compound.
Although we do not have confirmation of this, it
prompted us to take the action we took this morning
Contacted yesterday for comment, Minister of
Health Dr Fuad Khan said he has no confirmation
of any Chikungunya cases in that area.
He, however, expressed surprise and shock over
the actions of the T&TEC workers protest.
"If there are suspected areas of possible breeding
grounds workers don t have to down tools for that.
It would be frightening if everyone downed tools as
a result of hearsay."
Khan assured that he would despatch workers of
the Insect Vector Control Unit to have the area and
compound sprayed in the interim.
Curbing the spread of the Chikungunya
virus and stamping out the growing mos-
quito problem in T&T begins with educa-
tion says Siparia Regional Corporation
chairman Leo Doodnath.
Doodnath, speaking with the T&T
Guardian on Sunday evening at the launch
of the corporation s Gifted Hands art exhi-
bition at the conference hall of Plaza Siparia,
High Street, Siparia, said the corporation
will embark on an education campaign with-
in the region.
"What we are doing is taking a holistic
approach towards the eradication of mos-
quitoes and so on.
"The major part of fighting mosquitoes
is education. Educating our people with
respect to their surroundings, on how they
must keep their surroundings, on what they
must have and must not have in terms of
spraying (is important)," he said.
Earlier this month Minister of Health Dr
Fuad Khan had said there were approxi-
mately 22 confirmed cases and 66 suspected
cases of the Chikungunya virus in T&T.
Doodnath said: "Everybody would want
their place sprayed, every district, every
community," but, "the real approach to really
decreasing the incidents of mosquitoes is
"We have our insect vector department
visiting communities and giving out hand-
outs and meeting with (residents) one on
one and advising them as to how they must
really treat with their premises and what
they need to do to get rid of this mosquito
Curbing Chikungunya starts with education
in Arima protest
Siparia Regional Corporation chairman:
A T&TEC worker shows some old discarded metal
drums on their Tumpuna Road, Arima worksite
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