Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 23rd 2014 Contents Minimum wage still to be reviewed --- McLeod News --- Page A6
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Thursday, October 23, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
This country will be sourcing crude oil
supplies from Colombia and Russia after
Petrotrin workers refused to berth a tanker
that arrived in T&T waters on October 18
from Gabon due to concerns over the Ebola
The action of the workers, represented
by the Oilfields Workers Trade Union
(OWTU), forced Petrotrin to use scab labour
to offload the MV Overseas Yellowstone,
which had arrived at Petrotrin s Pointe-a-
Pierre base since last week with $.5 billion
worth of oil.
News of the decision yesterday came via
international news reports, including the
reputable Bloomberg, which quoted Energy
Minister Kevin Ramnarine as saying he had
halted oil purchases from Gabon which had
been T&T s only African supplier of crude
oil in the past 20 months. The vessel even-
tually docked late Tuesday using outsourced
tugs and labour, he also said.
"The situation is dynamic and we will
review if need be," Ramnarine said in an e-
mail response to questions on the issue
posed by Bloomberg.com.
"It should, however, be noted that there
is no Ebola outbreak in Gabon."
The stand-off has resulted in losses for
state-owned Petrotrin, which was forced
to reduce throughput to the refinery from
110,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 80,000
bpd because it could not immediately get
the 750,000 barrels on board the tanker.
The company had said without the supply
of crude it could have been forced to shut
down operations at the refinery which can
take as much as two weeks to restart.
Gabon is not among the five west African
countries from where passengers have been
banned from entering T&T due to an out-
break of Ebola but OWTU president general
Ancel Roget said at a news conference that
did not matter, since ships normally used
crews from other countries.
"Therefore any threat or any exposure to
the Ebola virus would put at risk not only
the employee but the home, family, com-
munity and therefore it is in the national
interest that we call on the company to put
in place the necessary protocols in the inter-
est of the workers at Pointe--a-Pierre," the
union leader said.
Roget said given that the ship had visited
other ports, it was possible that someone
on board could be carrying the Ebola virus
for which there is no known cure.
Gabon, which has had Ebola outbreaks
in 2001-2002, 1996-1997 and 1994, is not
among countries currently experiencing
cases of Ebola and is not among the four
countries on the banned list announced by
the Government last week.
The virus has killed more than 4,500
people in the current outbreak, mostly in
Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. ---with
reporting by Derek Achong
GET IT RIGHT
There were some geographical bloopers in our
Page A3 story on Tuesday. The countries from
which entry is currently banned, as announced last
week by Dr Fuad Khan, are Sierra Leone, Guinea,
the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia and
Nigeria. The controversial ship came from Gabon,
which in fact borders Equatorial Guinea (not
Guinea), Congo (not the Democratic Republic of the
Congo) and Cameroon. None of the countries
bordering Gabon has had any Ebola cases. Our
apologies for those errors.
National Security Minister Gary Griffith has
condemned yesterday s brazen attack on the
Canadian Parliament and reminded T&T cit-
izens that the cost of real freedom is eternal
vigilance and those who fail to prepare are
dooming themselves to failure.
He made the comment yesterday after the attack
by a lone gunman left a soldier and the gunman
dead. (See Pages A8 and A29)
Asked if any T&T nationals living in Canada
had been injured in the incident, Griffith said up
to late yesterday he had received no such information,
but his ministry would continue to monitor the
In a press release earlier, Griffith said: "This latest
incident that reverberates throughout the Com-
monwealth, of which both T&T and Canada are
integral parts, sends a strong message that no
country is safe from the violent and the depraved.
"As such, security experts and law enforcement
personnel remain vigilant and must to be armed
and ready to deal with any attack against our coun-
try s freedom and democracy."
Describing yesterday s incident as reprehensible,
Griffith said it highlighted that his ministry had
been proven accurate in its predictive planning and
preparation for threats to national security.
He said initiatives and policies implemented in
the last few months were being done in the best
interest of T&T and there was a need for intense
training, increased manpower strengthening and
the acquisition of assets to defend T&T against all
manner of security threats.
"Highly trained officers and the provision of
resources are all part of the ministry s strategy to
ensure that all members of the protective services
are equipped and outfitted to securely stand in the
first line of defence for this country and its citizenry,"
He said he intended to make every effort to ensure
the units and key agencies of the ministry were
well prepared for a similar situation.
"The risk and the clear and present danger were
real and evident in today s (yesterday s) occurrence
and the response of the Canadian authorities was
appropriate and in accordance with their threat
assessment," Griffith said.
The first assets and response team on site during
the shooting, Griffith said, were the armoured per-
sonnel carriers and the special operations group,
He said his ministry was exploring similar initia-
"These are the same armoured personnel carriers
that some had taken to calling expensive toys. Today
these APCs have proven their worth, pressed into
service in a hostile civilian environment, and the
message could not be clearer for us here at home,
especially as we have had experience with attacks
on our very own seat of democracy," Griffith said.
He said as recently as two months ago a com-
prehensive risk threat and vulnerability assessment
was done at T&T s Parliament building by the
National Operations Centre, Defence Force, Police
Service, Parliament security and the Office of
Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM).
On the basis of the findings the ministry has
implemented proactive security planning, he said.
No Trinis hurt in
Gabon oil buys halted
Ramnarine: Ebola protest a dynamic case
Doctor of Laws
Causa, of the
lawyers at UWI
UWI will be
over the next
two days after
a break for
In an immediate response yesterday,
Roget described the company's response to
the workers' complaints as "foolish."
Speaking while taking part in the
candlelight vigil for Highway re-route
Movement leader Dr Wayne Kublalsingh
outside the Office of the Prime Minister, St
Clair, last night, Roget said the workers'
problem was not where the vessels were
coming from but the company's failure to
institute rigorous screening for all ships
entering the port and lack of proper
He said: "They do not understand and
appreciate that they are placing the nation
at risk because these workers live in
communities and if they are exposed they
will expose their families and friends.
"They are not claiming that there is
someone ill with Ebola on the vessel but
they are saying that they run the risk
because ships come from all over the world
at that port and they cannot trust the word
of the captain and crew of those vessels.
"Those ships they bunker out in the open
seas and even though they may not come
from west Africa you don't know who they
would have come in contact with on the
He also claimed the current procedure
being used by the company and the Health
Ministry was outdated and inefficient.
"It is an age old procedure where they
send someone, who is not a medical doctor,
on board the ship.
"He checks the ship's records and then
gives them clearance. There is no type of
interaction with the crew to determine
whether they exhibit any symptoms," Roget
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