Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 2nd 2017 Contents news A7
Tuesday, May 2, 2017 guardian.co.tt
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for MAY 01ST, 2017
Khan takes charge
of oil spill probe
Unhappy with the April 23 Petrotrin oil
spill which reached the Venezuelan border
and coastline on Sunday, Energy Minister
Franklin Khan has taken control of the sit-
Within the coming days, Khan will dispatch a
team of energy and environmental experts to Ven-
ezuela to assess the damage done to that country's
coast line on an island just off Guiriaand its marine
life, even as clean up started yesterday.
Khan confirmed that it is the first time that a
spill from Trinidad has entered the Venezuelan
waters and they will be testing the protocols that
operate in terms of the T&T and Venezuela Bilateral
Oil Spil plan. The plan was initiated through the
diplomatic route via the Foreign Affairs Minis-
try and Caricom one day prior to the oil reaching
Venezuelan waters, Khan said.
He said the ministry is liaising with PDVSA,
mobilising resources , including the Venezuelan
Air Force which is conducting aerial surveys, and
making photographs available to them, so they
could use the computer models to track the trajec-
tory of the oil spill to see where it is touching land.
Khan said he was happy that it did not affect
the mangroves although, marine life, flora and
fauna have been affected at Point-a-Pierre and
However, he said he did not forecast that it would
reach Venezuela and pointed out that somehow
the tracking of the trajectory of the spill through
computer based models did not picked up on the
movement of the oil toVenezuelan earlier as they
were inadvertently concentrating on the Trinidad
The minister also confirmed that a lot of re-
sources had been expended on what was a small
spill. The total number of barrels spilled is still a
mystery with Gary Aboud ofFishermen and Friends
of the Sea putting it as 150,000 barrels yesterday.
Khan, in Parliament last week, put the figure at
300 barrels of fuel.
Khan said the ministry will initiate its own in-
vestigation as to the genesis of the spill and that
as a government ministry with State agencies
involved, they had a responsibility to make the
findings known to the public. He said he is fairly
happy with how the spill was handled , in terms
of recovery and containment, but noted that there
are some weaknesses in Petrotrin's system
""I think they managed this oil spill fairly okay
after it occurred. Why did it occur that is a dif-
Tobago sailings back to normal after set back
Manager of marketing and public relations of
the T&T Inter-island Transportation Compa-
ny (TTIT) Vilma Lews-Cockburn says sailing
is back to normal despite complaints that the
T&T Express and the T&T Spirit had experi-
enced mechanical problems on Sunday night.
Passengers reported that the T&T Express expe-
rienced mechanical failure on Sunday night while
the 6. 30 am sailing of the T&T Spirit was delayed
yesterday at the Scarborough Port due to technical
On Sunday, passengers said the T&T Express left
Tobago around 4.30pm and arrived in Trinidad some
three hours later.
However, the passengers said that they were still
on board the vessel at 9 pm and were instructed to
return to their seats after a loud bang was heard.
The passengers said they saw a tug boat nudging
the T&T Express to the offload ramp.
In an interview yesterday, Lewis-Cockburn ad-
mitted that there were mechanical problems with
the T&T Express "last night (on Sunday) but it went
out this morning (yesterday)."
She said the problem was rectified and both vessels
Lewis-Cockburn said the T&T Spirit left Scar-
borough at 6.40 am yesterday and it was currently
docked in Trinidad during midday.
Last week, the Port Authority said in a press re-
lease that the "best" available options will always
be pursued to ensure that there is no disruption in
protest bad roads
Works and Transport Minister, Ro-
han Sinanan, has made a commitment
to residents of Vega De Oropouche and
Fishing Pond, Sangre Grande, to begin
paving roads in the communities in the
next three weeks.
He made the promise as residents staged
a fiery protest yesterday morning.
The minister said the Water and Sewerage
Authority (WASA) has taken the responsi-
bility to pave the roads in these part of the
country following a meeting with Public
Utilities Minister Fitzgerald Hinds, WASA's
CEO and other officials.
Sinanan said WASA agreed that the au-
thority dug up the road for the laying of pipe
lines and made a commitment to him to pave
the road in three weeks time.
Councillor for the area, Anil Juteram, said
Sinanan has been visiting the area quite fre-
quently and even made a Local Government
election promise to have the road paved, but
it never happened. He claimed it was politi-
cal victimisation as the road is long overdue
Residents took to the streets from as early
as 2 am yesterday, falling trees, placing debris
and lit fires from Non-Pariel Estate to Flem-
ing Road in Caigual and Boodoo Highway
forcing residents from using the roadway.
Residents refused to give their names, but
told the T&T Guardian the road problem got
worst over a period of time.
One resident said the last time the Fish-
ing Pond Road was paved was when Basdeo
Panday was prime minister.
The road paving which commences next
three weeks will be out of the hands of the
Ministry of Works and Transport and will
come directly under WASA.
In a statement yesterday, WASA said it
acknowledged the concerns of residents re-
garding the condition of the roads following
work on a pipeline project in the area.
The authority said although temporary
restoration of the roadway was carried out
after completion of the project, the entire
roadway requires rehabilitation. It said in
this regard, the authority has been in dis-
cussions with the Ministry of Works and
Transport with the aim of undertaking the
Debris burn along the Vega
De Oropouche Road during a
protest staged by residents
over deplorable road
PHOTO: RALPH BANWARIE
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