Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 18th 2016 Contents Opposition MP Rodney Charles yesterday accused the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of failing in its duty in iden-
tifying the nine Trinidad nationals who were detained
last month in Turkey while enroute to join terrorist organ-
isation the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (Isis).
Charles, in a press release yesterday, stated there was
"an amazing lack of urgency on the part of the ministry
in handling the Isis crisis and detention of our citizens in
His comments came hours after National Security Min-
ister Edmund Dillon stated on Monday the detainees have
not yet left Turkey to return home and were still being
"After being informed weeks ago that nine citizens were
detained by Turkish authorities for attempting to enter
Syria to fight alongside Isis, our foreign ministry is as of
today unable to confirm how many were detained, whether
they are T&T citizens and if there are plans in place to
repatriate and what actions (legal and otherwise) would
be taken upon their return," Charles said.
The Naparima MP added: "We have effectively outsourced
our foreign affairs to third parties, in this case the Turkish
authorities. This is manifestly unacceptable for a country
aspiring to first world status. We are better than this.
"We are therefore in the unenviable position of having
to wait on Turkish authorities to tell us if and how many
of our citizens were on their way to Syria, instead of it
being the other way around."
Charles said T&T on a per capita basis was one of the
biggest suppliers of foreign fighters to Isis. A recent Sunday
Guardian report stated as many as 120 people have left
T&T to join Isis.
"One would have thought that as a serious government,
plans would have been in place to monitor impressionable
young locals desirous of going to Syria, reduce the attrac-
tiveness of Isis among our at risk youth and establish pro-
tocols for dealing with our Isis fighters on their return,"
The Environmental Manage-
ment Authority (EMA) yesterday
attempted to alleviate fears by
members of the public over the
reported high concentrations of
Total Petroleum Hydrocarbons
(TPH) in fish in the Gulf of Paria.
In a press release issued yesterday,
the EMA referred to variations of test
results relating to traces of hydrocarbons
in dead fish which washed ashore in La Brea
Samples were supplied by environmental
activist group, Fishermen and Friends of
the Sea (FFOS), and its organisation.
The FFOS tests on a salmon and two cat-
fish showed TPH readings of between 334.99
and 2680.73 mg/kg while the EMA s tests
on showed no presence of TPH in its stingray
and herring samples and 50.81 mg/kg in its
In its release the EMA stated that there
were stark differences in its results and the
FFOS but stated: "It should be noted that
there is an absence of international standards
regarding TPH levels in fish."
Speaking on i95.5 FM yesterday, Ramb-
harat said: "I continue to eat fish several
times a week. There is absolutely nothing
in the information provided by the EMA so
far to point to unfitness of fish for
However, despite the EMA and
Rambharat s assurances, the
FFOS still maintained its position
yesterday as it raised several
issues with the "legitimacy of
the findings" made by the EMA s
Apart from not being signed,
Aboud said the EMA s report appeared
to be mislabeled as it stated that the
samples were submitted for testing on
August 4 and were tested on July 26.
"Is it possible that the samples were tested
nine days before they arrived?" Aboud said.
He also suggested that Cariri s strict policy
over the chain of custody of samples col-
lected appeared not to be followed by the
"As far as we are concerned the samples
could have come from Speyside or Balandra,"
He also took issue with the type of testing
chosen by the EMA for the samples.
The EMA also maintained it position that
the fish that washed ashore was by-catch
dumped by trawlers in the Gulf of Paria and
were not killed by corexit, a dispersant used
to clean up the 2013 oil spills, as no traces
of the chemical were found in its (EMA)
While the FFOS blamed corexit for the
fish kill, it did not test for the chemical
when it ordered its TPH tests.
"The TPH detected in the catfish samples
are likely attributed to the fact that the
species being a scavenger/bottom feeder,
typically ingests larger quantities of TPH
found in seabed sediment.
Additionally, in the areas in question,
namely La Brea and environs, there exists
natural seepages of hydrocarbons in the
nearshore environment which may have also
contributed to the higher levels of TPH in
the sediment and catfish," the release said.
The authority announced it would be
holding a public consultation on the issue
and its investigation into it on August 28.
High Court Judge Peter Rajkumar will be
elevated to the Court of Appeal tomorrow.
Rajkumar, who became at judge in 2009,
is expected to be sworn in by President Antho-
ny Carmona at a ceremony at The Office of
the President, St Ann s, at 11.30 am.
Rajkumar holds an LLB (Honours Second
Class) (UWI) and Legal
(LEC) from the Hugh
Wooding Law School.
He was admitted to the
Bar in October 1986 and
after a short stint at the
Chambers of Michael de la
Bastide, QC, and Martin Daly,
SC, he joined the office of the
Solicitor General, Department
of the Attorney General, where
he served for three years as a
Rajkumar returned to private
practice in January 1990, serv-
ing for three years as an asso-
ciate attorney at Hobsons and then in civil litigation at
the Litigation Department of the legal firm of M Hamel-
Smith and Co.
His commercial litigation practice focused on insurance
litigation, medical negligence, admiralty, pensions liti-
gation, construction law, anti-dumping, personal injury
claims and land disputes.
Rajkumar is also a former member of the Media Com-
plaints Council, Public Utilities Commission and the
Disciplinary Committee of the Law Association.
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Thursday, August 18, 2016
to Appeal Court
knocks slow response
to Turkey nine
latest EMA report:
Fish fit to eat
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