Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 17th 2014 Contents A10
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A week-long protest in Erin, South Trinidad,
escalated yesterday as residents dragged an oil rig
across the main road, blocking off access for most
of the day.
This happened a day after residents threatened to
interfere with oil lines if the Government failed to
pave their roads, provide recreational parks, improve
street lighting and offer employment.
The rig, valued at $850,000, had been housed a
short distance from the Los Bajos cemetery. Before
dawn, about 50 protestors broke through a barrier
and pushed the rig onto the road. They also erected
a shed across the street and placed placards on the
lamp posts reading, "Hole! Hole! Hole!" and "Fix
our Roads now!"
For the fourth consecutive day, several places
including Los Charros junction, STOL Road, Happy
Valley, Rancho Quemado, Grand Ravine, Carapal,
Lorensotte and Petrotrin Oilfield Road were impass-
Contractor Jevan Francis said the rig belonged to
Strong Arm Swabing Services.
"I have to say that they did not damage the rig.
They sent down the tyres but they did not hit the
rig or put fire to it. I don t give them wrong for
protesting because this road is the worst road in the
country and it is unbearable because all the oil money
coming from this region," Francis said.
Chairman of the group People for Progress Victor
Roberts said several calls had been made for Gov-
ernment to address their concerns. However, he dis-
associated his group from any acts of sabotage and
"We are a peaceful group and we will not condone
any acts to damage oil lines," Roberts said.
He also said Works Minister Dr Suruj Rambachan
had requested a meeting with them, to be held at
3 pm in Gasparillo, but they had rejected it.
"We find this disrespectful because we want him
to come to Erin and see the road conditions for him-
self. Why should we meet in Gasparillo," Roberts
MP for La Brea Fitzgerald Jeffrey visited the area
yesterday and accused Government of discriminating
against the La Brea constituency. He said when he
spoke to Rambachan, he was told "finish what you
start." Jeffrey said he was not the organiser of the
protest. He also said he did not condone the destruc-
tion of property: "We will be more affected if people
start interfering with oil lines. All people want right
now is better roads."
Petrotrin's head of corporate communications
Gillian Friday yesterday expressed concern over
residents' threats to interfere with Petrotrin's oil
lines and facilities which could possibly endanger
their own safety as well as the environment.
Asked whether security was being boosted, Friday
said: "The company will take all necessary measures
to ensure the safety of its employees and residents
in the neighbouring communities and the security of
Asked whether Los Charos, STOL Road, and
Oilfield Road fell under the purview of Petrotrin,
Friday said: "These roads are maintained by the
Ministry of Works with the off-take roads to
Petrotrin's wells and facilities maintained by
She said Petrotrin's maintenance of its Field roads
was ongoing in order to ensure access to its wells
and facilities. Petrotrin President Khalid Hassanali
also said Petrotrin would be unable to fix roads if the
oil price was US$45 per barrel.
A derelict oil rig is used to block a section
of the SS Erin Road in Los Bajos, as
residents protested for a second
consecutive day calling for speedy road
repairs in the La Brea constituency.
We will fix the roads---Rambachan
Dr Suruj Rambachan said yesterday that the SS
Erin Road through Los Charros, Palo Seco, had been
earmarked for rehabilitation.
The works would be done on a phased basis,
Rambachan said, but his ministry was waiting on
the release of a second tranche of a loan, which had
already been approved, to initiate the next phase of
road rehabilitation works.
roads in the
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