Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 25th 2017 Contents news A7
Tuesday, April 25, 2017 guardian.co.tt
6.1500 6.6254 6.7993
4.6592 4.9044 5.2968
8.0627 8.4871 9.1561
6.8477 7.2081 7.7847
****** 0.0601 0.0646
2.2339 2.4281 2.6248
2.7166 ****** 3.5196
for APRIL 24TH, 2017
after boat stalls
RADHICA DE SILVA
A group of hikers who were
rescued by the Coast Guard af-
ter being left stranded for three
hours in the dark, windy shores
of Chacachacare Island are now
demanding a full refund from
They are also calling for a boy-
cott of Adventure Seekers of T&T,
the group which organised the hike
On its Facebook page yesterday,
Adventure Seekers apologised to
the patrons and promised a partial
refund but their apology triggered
outrage from the patrons and other
On the group's Facebook page,
Kern Richards said he and his
girlfriend almost lost their lives.
Another patron Kele Taylor said
the hike was supposed to start at
5 pm but patrons were left standing
from 4.45 pm to 6.15 pm as officials
waited for late comers.
When they finally boarded at
Crews Inn, Taylor said the boat
"(There was) no safety briefing
on the boat. No roll call. No issuing
of life jackets. There were children
on board - we were terrified," Tay-
In the midst of rough seas, the
overcrowded boat began experi-
encing engine problems and could
not berth alongside the jetty so pa-
trons had to be lifted off.
Tiffany Dhaniram said the boat
was drifting towards the rocks.
Reshma Dookhan wrote,
"Throughout the entire event
none of the team members com-
municated anything. Even when
we got to the light house there was
no announcements as to how long
we were going to rest. I honestly
felt as though we had chartered a
boat and had gone to DDI (Down
de Islands) by ourselves."
Others complained that guides
and first aiders were not helpful.
"Time management was an is-
sue throughout the entire hike. We
already started late, no announce-
ments were made on arrival at the
lighthouse," Taylor wrote.
The patrons also complained
that life jackets were not provid-
ed, not even to children although
the sea was rough and many could
not swim. Narisa Y. Mohammed
said when she asked for two life
jackets for her nieces she was told
that they are only given in cases of
The patrons accused the Adven-
ture Seekers of leaving them on the
island until the Coast Guard came
Lena Montano-Bermudez said it
was a Coast Guard employee who
was on the hike who organised the
Contacted yesterday, a repre-
sentative from Adventure Seek-
ers, who only identified herself as
Tinneil, said the group had been
organising tours for five years.
Asked whether there were
certified first aid personnel on
the tours, Tenneil said yes. Asked
whether patrons will be given a full
refund, she said that decision has
not yet been taken. Asked why pa-
trons were not given life jackets,
she said she was driving and could
not answer any more questions.
Adventure Seekers responds
In an apology, Adventure Seek-
ers said it chartered two vessels Is-
land Prince and Island Princess for
the 90 hikers but Island Prince was
out on another job so everyone was
allowed to board Island Princess.
"Coordinators were not in-
formed by the captain of any is-
sues with the Island Princess until
it departed for the Chacachacare
Island. We would in no way leave
persons behind or simply 'jump'
on-board another vessel know-
ing of mechanical issues. We can
guarantee it is not a case where we
knew the vessel was experiencing
problems and called another," the
"After hearing that the vessel
was in distress, the captain and
crew made a decision to shuttle
persons already on the vessel back
to Crews Inn, then to return and
assist the vessel. Upon hearing this
member of the Adventure Seekers
group called the Coast Guard to
ensure safety before our return,"
the group said.
Adventure Seekers said it will be
working on a compensation/pack-
age/incentive to all customers who
"Details will be posted here (on
Facebook) as well as patrons no-
tified," the group said. The hike
was arranged at a cost of $200 per
person and included transfers to
and from the island, photography,
guides and snack pack. It was sup-
posed to last from 5 pm to 10 pm.
Heat wave extended
The blistering heat being expe-
rienced for the past five days will
most likely continue for the next
two to three days.
This latest Hot Spell Alert was
released by the T&T Meteorological
Maximum temperatures during the
day have equalled or exceeded 34 de-
grees Celcius over the past five days
and there is a 55 per cent probability
for similar values over the next two
to three days.
According to the release, in the cit-
ies, built up and urban areas maxi-
mum temperatures are expected to be
more intense, "even though there is a
smaller chance for temperatures to be
slightly cooler on at least one of these
days, it will still be warm enough to
warrant a continuation of this Alert,
which is extended into Thursday."
High temperatures can be hazard-
ous to health, especially for people
who may be particularly vulnerable
such as older people, persons with
long-term or serious illnesses and
The hottest time of the day is be-
It is important to wear appropriate
clothing, stay hydrated at all times
and keep out of the sun in order to
avoid sunburn. Do not leave anyone
in a closed, parked vehicle, especially
infants, young children or even an-
These hot temperatures and dry air,
along with already present moderate
to strong winds will also combine to
create high fire potential in grassy ar-
eas of the country.
People are advised to avoid activ-
ities that promote open flames, fires
and sparks since they have the poten-
tial to quickly develop into bushfires.
1. Keep drinking water at all times, do
not wait until you are thirsty.
2. Carry a drink bottle.
3. Wear a hydration backpack.
4. Monitor your urine.
6. Avoid ice cold drinks.
7. Limit caffeine intake.
8. Drink water before, during and after
9. Wear light colour clothing and cot-
HOW TO KEEP HYDRATED:
Cunupia resident Sunil Narine casts his net into the Guayamare River, along the Uriah Butler Highway,
yesterday. PHOTO: ABRAHAM DIAZ
DRY SEASON CATCH
Fire shuts Cunupia school
Students of the Cunupia Gov-
ernment Primary School were
forced to return home on the first
day of school after the Easter break
after early-morning fire broke out
in the school's library.
And while the 586 students and 28
staff members are unsure when class-
es will resume---teachers have raised
safety concerns about returning to
work in a building which has failed
the last two fire inspections, with the
most recent having been conducted
during the last term.
Ministry of Education officials said
the damage was minimal as it had only
resulted in blackened walls and smoke.
The school's safety officer reported
seeing smoke coming from an air-con-
ditioning unit installed in the library
around 3.20 am and fire officials were
able to extinguish the blaze.
Parents were advised to return home
with their children when they reported
to school later in the morning.
Meanwhile, the Trinidad and To-
bago Unified Teachers Association
(TTUTA) says it will support any de-
cision the teachers take as it relates to
the safety of the school's occupants.
School officials also claimed the in-
stitution's early warning system and
fire suppression mechanisms were
inadequate and non-functional.
TTUTA President Lynsley Doodhai
urged the ministry to take the neces-
sary steps to protect staff and students
and said the teachers were seriously
considering withholding their labour
to signal their dissatisfaction and fears
about being housed in a building that
did not have a fire permit.
As a result, school officials are urg-
ing parents to exercise their discretion
when deciding to send their children
to a school that remains without a
certificate of electrical inspection.
In a statement, Education Minis-
ter Anthony Garcia said the it was a
smooth reopening of the all schools
as all efforts had been made to ensure
there were no hiccups. This school
term will run for approximately 11
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