Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 28th 2014 Contents A2
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt December 28, 2014
...but he needs a home
HDC's Jearlean John:
Social and Community
Services to deal with
HDC Managing Director
Jearlean John said on
Wednesday that the
corporation did have a report
on Lynch and an
investigation was done.
She said while housing
was critical, there was no
emergency housing available
at the moment. However, the
corporation and staff would
try their best to assist Lynch.
John said, "We do [help] in
situations and these kinds of
cases, and we've asked social
and community services to
look at it on Monday to see
what we can do to assist
"If we do find an
apartment, we'll have to
retrofit it for him as he is in a
"A ground floor apartment
is ideal but that is also in
high demand, but we'll see
what we can do," she said.
EMA head: Otaheite oil spill a crime
Although the Environmental
Management Authority (EMA) is
yet to receive test results on oil
found at Otaheite Bay on Christmas
Day, Chairman Dr Allan Bachan
said Petrotrin was cleared because
of reports that someone was seen
pouring oil in the area.
Bachan said nothing was found
when they initially checked the water
and shore, but oil was seen near a
river mouth. Through interviews with
residents and an examination of how
the oil was dispersed, he said, it was
determined that the oil came from
a third party.
He said samples were taken for
tests, but he would not speculate as
to what kind of oil was found. He
reiterated that it was not associated
with Petrotrin, but someone could
have taken it from one of its instal-
Bachan said they were investigating
someone living near the bay and clar-
ified that their probe had nothing to
do with the diesel tank found near
the Otaheite Fishing Depot.
"Based on the investigation and
the information we received, it points
to a third party source and that is
why I am not willing to disclose much
until the investigation is completed.
The nature of how this oil was dis-
persed is from isolated incidents, it
is not a flow.
"When we initially did our checks,
there was no oil on the beach. There
was an area by a river where we found
oil on the beach and we believe that
what has been happening is that the
third party that we are investigating
at this point in time had been pouring
this oil onto various areas," Bachan
Petrotrin President Khalid Has-
sanali said that while police were
investigating the EMA's claim, the
company had also taken samples for
its own analysis. However, because
of the long weekend, the samples
were yet to be tested.
Bachan referred to the incident as
an environmental crime, saying it
was unfortunate that people were
using the recent oil spills for personal
gains, not realising there were already
environmental issues to deal with.
He said the EMA had improved
on its emergency response and
resources over the past year and
called on Government to beef up
environmental legislation and
increase its workforce.
OWTU: We're investigating too.
Oilfield Workers' Trade Union
President General Ancel Roget said
the union would be doing its own
investigation into the oil spill at Ota-
heite Bay as it did not trust any infor-
mation from Petrotrin.
Speaking by telephone yesterday,
Roget said Petrotrin continued to
have maintenance problems, which
had led to several oil spills over the
past 13 months. He said there was
a possibility that the oil could have
come from offshore.
"We are doing our own in-depth
investigation and if possible or nec-
essary, testing, because we don't trust
a word that comes out of Petrotrin's
corporate communications depart-
ment. It is there to facilitate their
own public relations and to hide their
incompetence. What we do know
for a fact is that Petrotrin has not
done the level of maintenance and
repairs to ensure 100 per cent that
their facilities are safe and that there
is full containment."
CHARLES KONG SOO
Phillip Lynch, 26, is just three feet
tall and was born without knees.
When you see him for the first time,
you're shocked at what he can do.
He has the upper body and physique
of a gymnast and can do hand
stands, planches and pommel horse
exercises as he vaults from his
smaller than standard-size wheel-
On shaking his hand, his grip is
like a vise.
For 11 years, Lynch has been living
at Aylward House Hermitage Road,
Belmont, Gonzales, a transitional
facility that is run for older boys and
socially displaced children under the
auspices of the Credo Foundation for
He is now too old to remain at the
home which can accommodate eight
boys only and where the age limit is
18 or 19 years. He is supposed to
move out at monthend to make room
for new boys arriving in the new year.
Speaking to the Sunday Guardian
in front of Nalis (The National Library
and Information System Authority
of T&T) on Tuesday, Lynch said, "I've
applied to the HDC (Housing Devel-
opment Corporation) for a house but
I haven't heard anything.
"I'm very talented and able, but
jobs for people in my condition are
hard to find.
"I would like to take care of myself,
but for now, I live off a government
"My Christmas and New Year's
wish is for a place that I can call
home, hopefully get a place from
HDC to rest my head. Without a
house or roof over me, I can't sleep
He said one of the challenges he
faced when applying for a job was
being asked if he could do the job or
Lynch said he could walk around
on his legs, but not for long periods
He works part-time in the IT
department at Nalis and also with
the Para Olympics, helping with
counselling and coaching.
Lynch's hobbies are wheelchair
racing and basketball, and he enjoys
life as best he can.
When the Sunday Guardian visited
him, he was editing wedding and
birthday pictures on his laptop, a skill
he learned at Servol where he also
Mtima Solwazi, Lynch's instructor
at Servol, has maintained a relation-
ship with him. Solwazi said Lynch
was fiercely independent, didn't use
his disability as an excuse, saved his
money, and inspired others by telling
He recalled that Lynch was in Ser-
vol's ADP (adolescent development
programme) and he remembered his
determination. Solwazi said Lynch
did not sit down and feel sorry for
He said Lynch was a very intelligent
young man and had a can-do atti-
tude. "If you wanted him to do some-
thing, tell him he can't do it and you
will be surprised."
Solwazi appealed to the Govern-
ment to help Lynch.
Lynch stands tall despite disability
Phillip Lynch is
appealing to the
Government for help
in getting a home.
PHOTO: JEFF MAYERS
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