Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 5th 2014 Contents A5
Friday, September 5, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Firefighters battled with large flames, mov-
ing across old fridges, tyres and stoves yes-
terday, as a scrapyard fire at Beetham Gardens
overwhelmed residents and commuters who
battled thick, dark and pungent smoke.
For two hours fire officers used water, then
foam in their attempts to put out the flames.
The smoke obscured the view of drivers and
passed through windows into the homes of
Officers said they received a call shortly after
"We were told that some guys were welding
and sparks from the machine set pieces of dry
wood on fire," said one firefighter.
Deputy Chief Fire Officer Rodulf Bruce, in
a telephone interview, said the fire started as
a bush fire near the Vehicle Management Com-
pany of T&T (VMCOTT).
"It ignited some scrap metal which was being
stored in a scrapyard nearby and this fire lasted
for a bit over two hours," he explained.
He said while the fire looked worse than it
actually was, officers had to use a relay system
to get water to the blaze before eventually using
foam to douse it completely.
"It took a while because tyres tend to burn
quite intensely," he said.
Tobago has recorded its first
confirmed case of the chikun-
gunya virus, it was stated yes-
The T&T Guardian under-
stands the patient is a resident
of Plymouth on the southwest-
ern side of Tobago.
In a statement the Division
of Health and Social Services
of the Tobago House of
Assembly (THA) quoted county
medical officer of Health D
Vishwanath Partapsingh as
announcing Tobago s first case.
"The division has since
ensured that the patient
received adequate health care
and education in order to man-
age the disease properly.
"The patient has subse-
quently returned to work, hav-
ing reported that no one in his
household has been or is cur-
rently ill with any medical
complaints," Partapsingh said.
He said the division also was
assuring that strict protocols
and operational plans have
been activated to handle such
circumstances and "continues
to urge citizens to take steps
that will prevent them or their
loved ones from becoming
He also urged Tobagonians
to use insect repellents and
mosquito nets and to keep their
surroundings clean to help
restrict the spread of the virus.
Meanwhile, Secretary for
Health and Social Services
Claudia Groome-Duke said the
division was doing all it could
to prevent the spread.
She added: "I understand
that persons will be concerned
now that Tobago has a con-
firmed case of the chikungunya
"However, I can assure you
that the division and the Toba-
go Regional Health Authority
have been in a state of readi-
ness for any chikungunya case
since January 2014."
Groome-Duke said all sys-
tems have been tested and the
division had the necessary
teams and equipment to deal
with people who had the virus.
She added: "I also urge you
to continue to practise preven-
tative measures against the
aedes aegypti mosquito and if
you or someone you know
shows any signs of the chikun-
gunya virus to visit the nearest
health facility immediately."
Rita Cabrera, 61, was so sick
she could not even walk or
Cabrera, of Palmiste Street,
Belmont, told the T&T Guardian
on Tuesday she began experi-
encing pain in both knees. As
the pain spread to every joint of
her body, accompanied with
fever, Cabrera went to the Port-
of-Spain General Hospital.
"While there, the nurses told
me there was a virus going
around in the Belmont area and
I had contracted it. They did not
say it was the chikungunya virus
specifically but I only got to learn
about the virus being confirmed
in the area via media reports,"
Cabrera said at the hospital
she was only given Panadol Ultra
and Vitamin C salts. Feeling no
better and wanting a second
opinion, she decided to visit a
private doctor, who prescribed
Panadeine, another painkiller.
"I have never felt like this in
my life. I could not walk. I could
not even put on my own clothes,
neither let the bedsheets touch
my skin. God hearing me, I
never get so much pain," she
Cabrera recalled seeing scores
of people at the hospital with
"I don t understand why they
at the hospital would want to
hide things like this. I don t
know how come little T&T
could get so many diseases like
this chikungunya and Ebola,"
Up to yesterday afternoon
while a news team from the T&T
Guardian was at Cabrera s home,
she said she was feeling the same
way and was thinking of having
a blood test done privately as
none was done at the hospital.
Asked if schools in the area
should be shut down because
of the presence of the virus in
the area, Cabrera replied: "No.
Education is important and I
really don t think there is need
for the schools to be closed.
"What the authorities need
to do is have the schools sprayed
after classes on a continuous
basis because I really don t want
to think if a child gets this virus,
hard for me, so I could imagine
how it would be for them."
Cabrera also made a plea to
have the area frequently sprayed
and the environment cleaned of
overgrown bush and stagnant
"Everyone must do their part
and fight this," she said.
...Tobago records its first case
at Beetham blaze
Security was heightened at the San Fer-
nando Magistrate s Court yesterday after two
alleged victims of human trafficking were
brought to give evidence against PC Valentine
The State began the case against Eastman,
through paper committal proceedings, on ten
human-trafficking charges involving three
Deputy Chief Magistrate Mark Wellington
told members of the public and the media to
leave the courtroom as the law said the case
must be heard in camera.
Eastman, 53, who was last assigned to the
Mon Repos Police Station, was the first person
to be charged under the Trafficking in Persons
Act of 2011.
The charges allege that he brought the women
into the country and harboured them for the
purpose of prostitution. The charges were laid
last year by PC Ramlogan after investigations
by the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit.
State attorney Trevor Jones has filed over
20 witness statements.
The three Colombian women are expected to
give evidence. Only two of the women, who are
in police protection, were in court.
Only one of the women gave evidence, which
lasted for an hour. She is expected to continue
on Tuesday. Spanish interpreter Doris Milan
assisted because the witness does not speak
Eastman, who is on $350,000 bail, was rep-
resented by attorney Subhas Panday.
Rita Cabrera shows off some tablets she was given to treat the
chikungunya symptoms. She spoke yesterday in an interview at
her home at Palmiste Street, Belmont. PHOTO: RISHI RAGOONATH
Confirmed and suspected
cases of the chikunguna
virus have been reported in
several areas in Belmont
• Sandhurst Street.
• Rosslyn Street .
• Archer Street.
• Barton Lane.
• Cadiz Road.
Speaking with the T&T
Guardian yesterday, deputy
mayor of Port- of-Spain
Keron Valentine said there
was a major number of
confirmed cases of
chikungunya as well as
He said a vigorous clean-
up campaign had begun in
"We are in the process of
cleaning up all vacant and
abandoned lots. We are
working closely in
collaboration with the
Ministry of Health and the
Inspector of Vector Control
with respect to spraying the
area," he added.
Valentine also asked for
residents to keep their
CHIKUNGUNYA IN BELMONT
CLEAN-UP IS ON
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