Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 3rd 2017 Contents news A5
Tuesday, January 3, 2017 guardian.co.tt
Nelson Street fire
victims hope for help
Fifteen residents of Nelson Street,
Port-of-Spain, who lost their apart-
ments following a New Year's morn-
ing fire are expected to meet with
Port-of-Spain South MP Marlene
Mc Donald today.
The fire, caused by an alleged fireworks
war between residents of Nelson Street
and Mango Rose, East Dry River, claimed
the life of 37-year-old Jameel Allamby,
37, who used a wheelchair.
Everald Trudge, a pensioner, said yes-
terday he and his family lost everything
in the fire.
He said the MP for Port-of-Spain
South, Marlene Mc Donald visited the
area yesterday and was expected to meet
with the affected residents to determine
what further assistance the government
can provide them with, including housing
Trudge said they were given mattresses
and other items yesterday.
He said he had been staying at the
home of a relative since the fire.
Trudge said he was hoping that a house
can be allocated close by. He said there
were "one or two" empty apartments on
Nelson Street and was hopeful that one
could be provided to him and his family.
He said certain residents were given the
option to acquire housing in Barataria.
The fire began at about 2.30 am on
Sunday at Building 55-57, Nelson Street,
An officer from the Inter Agency Task
Force (IATF) later told the T&T Guardian
on Sunday that fireworks were believed
to be the cause of the blaze.
The officer said even police had come
under attack as fireworks had been
thrown at marked police vehicles.
"It has been days now we are battling
with these people. They are not firing
off the fireworks in the air but using it
as weapons aiming it at each other, at
other people, buildings and even us, the
police," the officer said.
"They have no fear whatsoever and this
is what we have to be dealing with on
the ground. Many times we tried to make
arrests but without any kind of success."
The police believe the explosive de-
vices were among items stolen from a
container belonging to a fireworks dealer.
"We have information that an entire
container of fireworks was stolen and it
is suspected that this is the same fire-
works being used by the Mango Rose/
East Dry River residents. The people from
Nelson Street, from what we were told,
have mainly scratch bombs and were us-
ing that in the fireworks war," the IATF
Public Administration Minister Maxie
Cuffie recently launched a campaign to
stop the sale and use of scratch bombs
and illegal fireworks and appealed to cit-
izens to develop a culture of care for their
neighbours and the elderly.
On December 30, the T&T Police
Service warned against improper use
and unauthorised sale of fireworks. In
a release, the TTPS cited the Summa-
ry Offences Act Chapter 11:02 section
99 (i) which states that any person who
throws, casts, sets fire to, or lets off any
fireworks within any town is liable to a
fine of $1000. Section 99 (2) and sections
100 and 101 define a "town" to include
the cities of Port-of-Spain and San Fer-
nando, the Borough of Arima, and every
part of the area within two miles of the
boundaries of cities and boroughs.
An unidentified East Port-of-Spain resident transports a television that he picked up from off the pavement outside the Nelson
Street plannings on Sunday morning following the fire that destroyed several apartments and led to the death of one disabled man.
PHOTO: ABRAHAM DIAZ
the shortest possible time. It cannot be that the only
time you will deal with the matter is when you start
to hurt people. That makes no sense."
If this matter is not addressed in a timely fashion,
Enill said the ramifications could be devastating.
"In the first instance this can shut down the coun-
try. If people can't move freely from one place to the
other... then you have two things happening, you have
the whole transportation sub sector not being able
transport good and services. It means you are going
to have shortages (of goods) which can trigger price
increases. There is a whole series of activities that
can occur as result of not being able to move in the
country because there is no fuel."
Enill said in his view all this was "negatives."
While the Government had the ability to get the
army to operate Petrotrin's refinery as a contingency
plan, Enill said this was not a good use of resources.
"If we have a crime problem in the country then
military resources should be able to deal with that."
However, Enill said if the strike takes place it would
become a national security issue.
"Because you are going to have a situation in the
society where even the military may not be able to be
transported and go where they need to go....therefore
they are going to have to deal with it as though it is
Meanwhile, Kevin Ramnarine, who served as en-
ergy minister from 2011 to 2015, said that based on
state-owned Petrotrin's financial position they cannot
afford to give a salary increases at this time.
"I am saying that the financial position of the com-
pany cannot justify an increase in wages," he told the
Ramnarine had given statistics to show that Petro-
trin's revenue fell from TT$ 29 billion in 2014 to TT
$16 billion in 2016.
This comes at a time where oil production in T&T
has been falling and enegry prices globally have fallen
to their lowest in decades.
The Oilfield Workers Trade Union (OWTU) had
given Petrotrin an ultimatum to settle negotiations
with the union or there will be a shutadown of the
Ancel Roget, OWTU's Secretary General speaking
at a media conference last week said that the strike
action would not only be aimed at the company but
also at the Government.
Petrotrin has offered zero-zero-zero percent in-
crease to the oil union for the 2011 to 2014 period.
Fitzroy Harewood, President of Petrotrin in a letter
to employees had said: It also goes without saying
that the company's financial losses will be greater
due to the loss of revenue expected during the period
of a strike"
Ramnarine suggested that future wage increases
be tied to performance.
"They need to link future increases in wages to im-
provements in performance of the company measured
by increased oil production and increased refinery
output and efficiency," he said.
Ramnarine added that if OWTU and Petrotrin do
not come to an agreement and they decide to take
industrial action there should be "contingency plans"
"There are established contingencies at Petrotrin,
National Petroleum (NP) and Unipet to ensure the
delivery of fuel to the country."
Continued from Page A3
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