Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 11th 2015 Contents A24
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Tuesday, August 11, 2015
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Almost two years ago
Petrotrin was responsible
for a major oil spillage in the
Gulf of Paria, once the food
basket of the nation and
source of livelihood for
thousands of fishers. The
spill resulted in the death
and washing ashore of tens
of thousands of fish and
hundreds of birds. At that
time, FFOS alleged that the
inappropriate use of chemi-
cal dispersants exacerbated
the toxic impact of the spill.
We also argued that the
Corexit 9500 used would
become lodged in the man-
grove root system and that
when the rains came again,
it would be released back
into the nearshore waters
resulting in the death of
more fish and birds.
The rains are here now
which could have the effect
of flushing the Point Sabre
mangrove in La Brea again.
Local fishers have once
again begun to report dead
fish and shore birds wash-
ing onto Point Sable and
Carrot Shed Beach.
On Friday morning, dead
pelicans, corbeaux and hun-
dreds of fish were washed
After the spill, it was
widely expected that the
prime minister would have
Children enjoy a day at the beach even though dead fish litter the background.
PHOTOS COURTESY FFOS
Your cover story in the Sunday
Guardian on the Invaders Bay
development requires a
response to dispel some of the carefully
cultivated confusion around this impor-
tant set of proposals.
The Public Property known as
Invaders Bay comprises 70 acres of
reclaimed land at the waterfront in
west Port-of-Spain and it is proposed
to be the largest development in our
capital city in living memory.
It is unacceptable that this large-scale
development could be proceeding with-
out any public consultation and in the
seriously improper manner against
which the Joint Consultative Council
(JCC) has protested. It is sobering that
the very Ministry of Planning and Sus-
tainable Development (MPSD) has been
leading this process for the last four
years without seeking to engage in
The Request for Proposals (RFP)
process used in August 2011 by MPSD
was improper and voidable, since,
according to Minister Tewarie himself,
the assessment rules were published
one month after the closing date.
Any reputable organisation running a
competition or tender would accept
that the rules must be given to all the
competitors at the same time and well
in advance of the competition itself.
That basic and inescapable breach has
been pointed out to MPSD several
times by the JCC, but we are yet to see
any response on that point.
After JCC specified its concerns that
the RFP was in breach of the Central
Tenders Board Act, the Minister repeat-
edly stated that the legal advice was
that MPSD was in conformity with the
law. Despite our several requests, that
advice was never published, so the JCC
sued under the Freedom of Information
Act. The High Court ruled that the
requested information be published and
MPSD appealed. One can only wonder
at this reluctance by politicians to pub-
lish legal advice which supposedly sup-
ports their actions. This type of official
reticence is a first, so on this count at
least, the Invaders Bay project has a
significant element of innovation.
The JCC has enquired as to the cost
of the High Court case and the subse-
quent appeal, but that too has
remained undisclosed, for whatever rea-
According to Ms Jearlean John of
Udecott, a tender has been awarded for
design of infrastructure on this 70-acre
site, but we also know from MPSD that
no planning applications have been
made for these developments.
That raises the serious question as to
how an infrastructure layout can be
designed in the absence of either public
consultation or relevant approvals.
The carefully cultivated confusion can
be seen in three glaring examples: first-
ly, the question of official responsibili-
ty---with Minister Tewarie referring
detailed queries to Udecott, whose
chairman refers those queries back to
Secondly, according to MPSD, the
10.2 acre parcel allocated to Derek Chin
was valued at $204.5 million, yet Chin
is reported as saying that "...the price
is $130 million..."
Finally, the entire property is 70 acres
and 23.2 acres have been allocated, so
it seems that 46.8 acres are to be left
undeveloped at this stage.
So, how can Udecott be responsible
for only 51 acres, with Minister Tewarie
saying that "...there are about 40 acres
of land at Invader s Bay still open for
These are a few of the real concerns
with this proposed Invaders Bay devel-
REAL CONCERNS WITH INVADERS BAY DEVELOPMENT
The oil spill and its dead fish legacy
made public the report of a
specially formulated na-
tional environmental task
force, an investigative team
tasked with evaluating
Petrotrin's response to the
spill as well as its potential
and residual impact.
FFOS has, under the
Freedom of Information
Act, requested copies of the
Report of the Task Force. To
date, the Government has
refused to supply such.
The recent spills make it
imperative that the report
become public knowledge.
FFOS is only concerned as
to what the report said
and whether it sheds light
on the ongoing fiasco of
dead creatures in La brea
and possibly the wider Gulf
Some 50,000 fishers
and downstream vendors
depend on the environ-
mental integrity of the
Gulf. This is an unwanted
legacy of the People's Part-
Fish, flipper dolphins and pelicans were seen lying dead along Point Sabre, La Brea.
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