Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 7th 2016 Contents struction could take place and suit-
able, safe, hygienic accommodation
"The commission has been sit-
ting on its hands as far as that is
concerned and now we have those
explosions where the workers are
being put at risk," Burke said.
He said that department has two
other locations in Port-of-Spain
which consist of containers which
also posed a problem.
"This has toxic carcinogen
chemicals in them, we have the
perennial problem of flour from
the Flour Mills and we have a rat
infestation," Burke said.
He also alleged that neither the
Occupational Safety and Health
Authority (OSHA) nor the Envi-
ronmental Management Authority
(EMA) has been acting in the best
interest of workers.
The union, he added, also
attempted to meet with Public Util-
ities Minister Ancil Antoine.
"But the minister said he will
not meet with us until a board is
in place. Now that there is a board
we are calling on the minister to
meet," Burke added.
He said the union was expected
to meet with Energy Minister
Nicole Olivierre tomorrow.
Repeated calls to Antoine s phone
went unanswered yesterday.
Saying that the explosions have
resulted in serious consequences
for the supply of power in the Port-
of-Spain area, Burke said the B
Station was expected to be closed
at the end of this month.
"The supply would be tenuously
received from one transmission line
coming in from the southern area.
However, that leaves us very vul-
nerable as customers would have
seen the last two explosions have
caused untold inconvenience to
members of the public," Burke
He also warned about possible
future dangers and more incon-
venience to customers resulting
from the decommissioning process.
"A power station is needed in
the city...a densely populated part
of the country and therefore a
power station is needed here. So
when you remove this power sta-
tion you have the load coming in
on a line from south Trinidad into
Port-of-Spain and there is
absolutely no back-up supply.
"If you lose that line there is no
power station to generate power
for that section of the country,"
In October last year employees
across PowerGen s three plants in
Penal, Point Lisas and Port-of-
Spain received letters outlining the
details of the terms of the VERP
and VSEP packages.
In the letter, it stated that the
Revised 1994 Power Purchase
Agreement (PPA) effected a reduc-
tion in the contracted capacity from
819 MW (megawatts) at 95 per cent
availability from December 13, 2014,
and included a further reduction
to 624 MW at 95 per cent avail-
ability from January 2016.
"The Revised 1994 PPA also
stipulates that no capacity will be
required from the Port-of-Spain
facility after December 31, 2015,"
the letter had said.
Thursday, January 7, 2016 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
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Ministry of Labour and Small and Micro
Level 3, 50 - 54 Duke St,
Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
Some 400 workers are facing a pos-
sible health hazard including that of
cancer due to asbestos at the
T&TEC/PowerGen Plant in Port-of-
Making the claim was Peter Burke,
OWTU executive vice-president in
charge of T&TEC matters, who called
for the immediate evacuation of the
workers as he addressed members of
the media at the corner of Scott Bushe
and Flament Streets in Port-of-Spain,
Burke said further environmental
concerns have also arisen following two
explosions at the plant on December
15 and 30 last year.
The totemic PowerGen plant on
Wrightson Road in Port-of-Spain is
earmarked for decommissioning by the
end of this year.
"We understand that the building
has asbestos and the transformer oil
having burnt presents some challenges
to health and the environment.
"We also understand that suppressing
the gas inside that sub-station would
also have some implications regarding
the health of workers," Burke said.
He said the fact that the company
asked some 50 pregnant employees not
to turn up for duty but mandated the
rest of the staff to report to work was
an indication that something was not
right with the building.
Despite having a meeting on Monday
with the company s management, Burke
said no decision was taken to implement
"We are asking that the workers be
evacuated pending a test of the air qual-
ity in the area and the results must be
made known before anybody is asked
to return to the building," Burke said.
"Since 2009 recognising that devel-
opments are going to take place in that
area in the future we have been trying
to get the commission to find alternative
accommodation for the workers at Port-
of-Spain Distribution so that the con-
Cancer scare at PowerGen PoS
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