Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 8th 2016 Contents news A5
Thursday, December 8, 2016 guardian.co.tt
Hundreds of thousands of Giant
African Snails have invaded agricul-
tural lands south of the Blue Waters
factory at Orange Grove, Tacarigua,
and are now sweeping west, threat-
ening farmers in Macoya and further
afield.Collecting bags of snails from Paw-
Paw DMinistry moves to help Tacarigua
rive, Orange Grove yesterday, Ministry
of Agriculture employees said the prob-
lem was "critical," as they pointed to baby
snails littering the roadway, water-ways,
river banks and nearby vegetable fields.
At one pumpkin field, worker Joshua
Surijlal gently separated the pumpkin
leaves as he pointed to a cluster of snails
at the base of the plant. He said workers
have been "baiting" the surrounding area
for the last few days, speculating that the
snails may have been brought into the area
about two years ago based on the size of the
ones currently being collected.
"After the heavy rains in Diego Martin
two years ago, it could have been transferred
with material and brought in by persons
moving soil and other debris," he suggested.
During an interview at the ministry's
Experimentation Division in Mausica
yesterday, director Deo Nandlal said the
snails were brought into the country in
2008 by an Italian national living in Alyce
Glen, Diego Martin.
At the time, the man was reportedly rear-
ing it for consumption, but the population
ballooned and began spreading in the area
before moving further to Westmoorings and
He admitted the snails, which are native
to Africa, could easily be spread through the
movement of garbage, tree/grass cuttings,
water, removal of soil, vehicles and material
transferred from affected areas.
He said other areas where they had been
detected included Aranguez and St. Au-
gustine. He surmised that the current snail
population could easily have washed down
in the D'Abadie River, which borders the
infested agricultural lands to the east.
Assuring that they are committed to
eradicating the issue, deputy director Re-
search and Crop Protection Sub-Division,
Deanne Ramroop, said a task force had been
set up since 2009 to address the problem.
However, both she and Nandlal agreed that
enforcement of legislation was a problem
due to a number of factors. The snail is a no-
tifiable pest that carries a $5,000 fine with
it for failure to report it to the authorities.
Citing a lack of human resources as well
as procedural issues, Nandlal said budget
cuts had severely restricted efforts to
launch a widespread public campaign.
Ramroop said they had been busy scout-
ing, baiting, collecting live/dead snails
and incinerating them during the last two
Addressing concerns that the presence
of rat lung worm in the snails increased the
potential to spread meningitis to humans,
Ramroop said the Ministry of Health was
part of the task force and was responsible
She said to date, "we have had no such
validation by the Ministry of Health."
The task force is expected to meet to-
morrow to discuss the way forward.
Ramroop said while salt water and bleach
can be used to kill the snails, they are urg-
ing the public to use gloves before handling
them and avoid placing them in the garbage,
as this can further spread them.
Cops want back
seatbelt law too
JENSEN LA VENDE
Trying to find who was at fault in Monday
night's accident that left six people dead is not
of great concern to the police service, since both
drivers died and no one can be prosecuted. What
the lawmen hope to achieve is getting drivers
to be more cautious and courteous on the road.
Speaking at the weekly police press briefing yes-
terday, Road Safety Coordinator, Constable Brent
Batson, reminded drivers that after you have received
the green light you should still wait three to four
seconds before proceeding through an intersection.
He said a colleague who arrived at the scene and saw
"flesh and steel intertwined" was so traumatised he
had to leave.
Batson said there are now plans to roll out seven
traffic light cameras that capture wayward drivers
who zoom through stop lights, adding that the nec-
essary legislative backing is expected to be taken to
According to police reports, the Romain broth-
ers, Kwme and Kareem, along with Kareem's best
friend Che Peters and Travis Teague' were heading
east along the Churchill Roosevelt Highway, when
on reaching the O'Meara intersection Teague's Mit-
subishi CK Lancer collided with an Isuzu pick-up
heading south along O'Meara Road driven by Ramish
Narine. All the passengers in Teague's vehicle, except
for Kwme, died on the scene, as did three occupants
of the truck, including Narine, Averniel Thomas and
Timothy Fraser. The deceased from the pick-up were
all employed with Special Elite Investigations Servic-
es Limited and were on their way home after work.
Asked about suggestions that rear seat passengers
also be legally obligated to wear seatbelts, Batson said:
"There were plans in the Motor Vehicle Authority
Bill to implement it as mandatory, once the vehicle
is equipped with back seat belts, that passengers be
mandated to implement it. But the new bill, I have not
seen it written there, so I will have to follow up on it.
"But we welcome anything that raises safety on
the roads. Even if it means we all have to buckle up
cause it makes sense since the rear seat occupants
will face almost the same forces as the front seat
occupants during a collision." Also speaking at yes-
terday's briefing was ASP Harrinarine Rampath, who
said for the year there were $10,233,000 worth of
speeding tickets issued, as well as 2,605 offenses
of driving under the influence of alcohol. He said
beginning yesterday there was to be an increase in
road exercises cracking own on speedsters and in-
Man gunned down mere metres from home
An Arouca man wanted in connec-
tion with failure to pay child main-
tenance was gunned down near his
Arouca home yesterday.
According to police reports, Lyndon
King, who lived at Perkins Street, was
standing on the corner of Perkins and Ford
Streets, Arouca, when he was shot in the
head by a gunman. Police said outside of
an outstanding warrant for failure to pay
the court ordered child maintenance, King
was not known to them and they have no
motive for his shooting.
They said they received the call of a body
on the ground just after 4.30 pm yesterday.
Police have labelled his death the 433rd
murder for the year compared to 388 for
the same period last year.
Ministry moves to help Tacarigua farmers as...
Giant African Snails that have invaded gardens at Orange Grove,Tacarigua, yesterday. PHOTO: (ABRAHAM DIAZ)
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