Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 27th 2014 Contents A5
Saturday, December 27, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
A selfish, elaborate hoax to
extort money from Petrotrin.
This is how Petrotrin president
Khalid Hassanali yesterday
described the latest oil spill claim
at Otaheite Bay on Christmas Day,
after the Environmental Manage-
ment Authority cleared the state-
run oil company of involvement
in the alleged oil slick.
In a telephone interview Has-
sanali said the oil slick appears to
have been staged and declared that
no compensation will be paid to
anyone at Otaheite.
"I call it an attempt to extort
because we have paid compensa-
tion in the past where compensa-
tion was warranted, but certainly
not in this case," Hassanali said.
Yesterday, EMA chairman Dr
Allan Bachan said the oil that fish-
ermen at Otaheite Bay encountered
on Thursday did not originate from
"Based on our preliminary find-
ings, it (the oil spill) was ascertained
to be an isolated incident and the
spill was not attributable to
Petrotrin," Bachan said.
He added that the oil that
washed up at Otaheite Bay "has
no correlation" with the oil that
made its way into the Guaracara
River earlier this week from the
While Bachan stopped short of
saying someone deliberately threw
the oil into the ocean, he said, "You
can make your assumptions.
"We are saying it is not Petrotrin.
It is a third party and it is not
attributable to Petrotrin. It is an
unfortunate incident, because it
continues to have an impact on
our aquatic and marine habitat and
at the end of the day it s a cause
On Christmas Day, Otaheite
fishermen claimed that oil was
spotted in the Gulf of Paria just
off Otaheite Bay. They said the oil
was seen at 6 am and pointed to
clumps of oil floating in the water
and littered along the shoreline.
Yesterday, Bachan said the oil
originated from a third party and
the EMA is "following up on some
leads based on information received
from residents as to the potential
source and the investigation con-
He said the public will be advised
of the EMA s findings as the inves-
Bachan said this latest environ-
mental issue strongly stresses the
need for the solid/hazardous waste
legislation to be effected as quickly
Hassanali said the company has
suspects in mind for the oil slick,
but he said Petrotrin has put the
matter in the hands of the police
and the EMA police.
Don't blame us---fisherfolk
An irate vice president of the
Otaheite Fishing Association, Raf-
fick Khan, yesterday denied his
colleagues at Otaheite Bay were
behind the oil slick.
Khan said Petrotrin is trying to
point fingers at them because they
are displeased with the company s
stance on the matter.
"I feel very terrible about the
response that Petrotrin has made
on this oil spill. They trying to
blame this on someone who is not
responsible, who have no knowl-
edge about this at all," he said.
He pointed to steel drums and
a metal tank in his front yard,
which he said Petrotrin is alleging
contained the oil that washed
He opened the drums and
showed reporters that they were
empty. Khan said the drums and
tank were used to store diesel for
the four boats that operate out of
He suggested that the bad
weather between Wednesday night
and Thursday morning could have
dislodged oil that lined the seabed
from last December s spill in La
Brea and the currents took it to
Oil spill a hoax
Former Independent senator Reverend
Daniel Teelucksingh is today urging cit-
izens to celebrate the Christmas angels
among us who continue to do good, even
as the demons of greed and crime stalk
He made the comment as he lamented
that homicides in this country are creating
a social nightmare during his annual Christ-
mas sermon at the St Charles Church,
Chaguanas, on Christmas morning.
Speaking on the theme-Demons and
Angels of Christmas- Teelucksingh said
today, much like the time of Jesus Christ s
birth, demons are actively stalking the
innocents and creating havoc.
The demon of crime, he said, makes his
presence felt in several communities in
T&T. "He (the demon of crime) manifests
himself in the drug cartels which under-
mine our economy, certainly promote the
illegal gun trade, claimed too many lives,
disrupted families and destroyed several
young persons," he said.
"Don t forget the number of children
murdered right here in T&T, as some were
caught in crossfire of family disputes, or
were innocent victims of anger, rage, spite
and hate," he said.
"Don t forget the haunting tragedy of
that one-year-old baby whose body was
thrown down a precipice in the Paria for-
He also pointed to the demon of greed,
which "was also restless as tax collectors
were demonised by the Palestinians in
Bible times; they were the epitome of cor-
Teelucksingh contended this very demon
appears to be active in T&T as well and
it is not limited to politicians.
"In our land, the rule of materialism,
the greed-demon continues to torment
us," he said.
"Why do we reserve the word "corrupt"
for politicians? Think again, corruption is
no respecter of persons, it thrives in several
strata of society. Christmas demons will
not leave Trinidad and Tobago alone."
But he said there is hope, as just as there
were demons and angels in biblical times,
there are demons and angels now. He said
the nation must celebrate those angels who
are conscious and faithful nation builders
"T&T s Christmas angels are among
those who defend our rights and civil lib-
erties. Indeed, in our Parliament, both in
government and opposition, there are those
who protect our democracy and lead us,
some under great stress, leading where
others are fearful to go," he said.
Teelucksingh said T&T, as a nation, must
thank God that angels have been in this
country at all times.
"We celebrate this Christmas with thou-
sands of angelic citizens who held our soci-
ety together. We thank God for those name-
less citizens, and others whose names we
know who are guided by truth, decency,
integrity and the highest in moral stan-
dards," he said.
These angels, he said, exist among teach-
ers, administrators of justice, in the business
and merchant class, the health services
and in the protective services "where per-
sons place their life on the line to maintain
law and order."
crime stalk T&T
EMA clears Petrotrin in Otaheite incident
A Petrotrin security boat patrols
near Otaheite Bay yesterday as
investigations into the cause of the
Christmas Day oil slick continued.
PHOTO: RISHI RAGOONATH
Raffick Khan, vice president of the Otaheite Fishing Association, shows
a container and drums containing diesel used to fuel his boats.
PHOTO; RISHI RAGOONATH
Yesterday, on the heels of the
EMA chairman's declaration,
four fishing groups, including
Fishermen and Friends of the
Sea, distanced themselves from
Thursday's oil spill.
The joint statement, signed
by Bhadase Sooknanan
(Claxton Bay Fishing
Association), Micheal Ramnath
(Otaheite Fishing Association),
Alvin La Borde (La Brea Fishing
Association), Terrence Beddoe
and Gary Aboud, both of
Fishermen and Friends of the
Sea, condemned the oil spill.
"We have received reliable
information that this was an act
greed and fraud- of scamps who
wanted to make false claims for
compensation and that
Petrotrin has lodged a report to
the police," the groups said.
The groups said they
"strongly condemn acts of
unlawfulness and nonsense of
the scamps who dumped oil on
the shoreline of Otaheite" and
offered their full assistance to
all investigative agencies "to
find the criminals who
committed this act of terror."
The fishing associations urged
National Security Minister Gary
Griffith to bring the culprits to
justice without delay.
"We urge the EMA to impose
full fines on the (culprits). We
urge the police to fully
investigate the criminals who
are also stealing solar panels,
cables, batteries and other
movables from the unmanned
platforms in the area," the
Yesterday, Ramnath said the
four associations took the
decision to distance themselves
after footage surfaced of a
drum with used oil and oily
footprints leading to areas
where oil coloured the shoreline.
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