Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 13th 2017 Contents news A11
Tuesday, June 13, 2017 guardian.co.tt
RADHICA DE SILVA
The survivor of last month's explosion
at Massy Gas Products, has been airlifted
to a foreign hospital for treatment.
Lester Villafana was flown to a hospital in
Colombia on Sunday. He had been warded at
the Southern Medical Clinic after being injured
on May 31.
His colleague, Gary Mohammed, 32, of Mon
Desir, South Oropouche, who was also injured
in the blast when a cylinder containing an-
hydrous ammonia exploded at the Massy Gas
Products plant at Savonetta, Couva on May 31
died at hospital last Friday.
News of the incident only became public
after Mohammed's death.
Mohammed's brother, Richard, told the
T&T Guardian Villafana's relatives were told
he had been taken to a hospital in Colombia
for further treatment.
Mohammed's funeral will take place today
at Belgrove's Funeral home in San Fernando.
He suffered massive internal injuries in the
In an e-mail yesterday, Massy's group corpo-
rate communications manager Candace Ali said
investigations are underway and are being con-
ducted internally and by external authorities.
"We will continue to cooperate with all au-
thorities and comply with all requirements.
The second employee who was injured in the
accident is still receiving medical treatment
and Massy is in communication with, and
remains supportive of, the families affected
by this incident," she said.
In an earlier statement she had said the cyl-
inder which ruptured had previously been filled
and was being held in storage for sale.
Massy supplies gas products in liquid or gas-
eous form in cylinders or via bulk storage con-
tainers, according to the company's website.
The products include oxygen, nitrogen, acet-
ylene, carbon dioxide, dry ice, compressed air
and ammonia. The products are also exported
in cylinders and in bulk.
Suicide watch figures
not from PAHO
The T&T Association of Psychologists said
information attributed to its President Dr Katija
Khan at a recent Joint Select Committee (JSC)
pertaining to school children on suicide watch
was not linked to the Pan American Health Or-
The association said in a statement: "In response to
questions by the JSC pertaining to suicide, Dr Khan's
response was that suicide was a public health crisis
that also extended to children.
"She noted PAHO's significant and creditable
contribution to suicide prevention. Dr Khan also
acknowledged that meetings to develop a National
Suicide Prevention Plan (led by the Ministry of Health)
"The figure relating to the number of students in
schools on suicide watch was given by a stakeholder
at one of these meetings.
The T&T Guardian
reported on June 7, that
some 400 primary and
secondary students are
on suicide watch because
they are experiencing
some degree of mental
illness, with primary
schools pupils as young
as seven facing such
The report also stated
that the SEA exam can be
a contributing factor, as the pressure faced by some of
the estimated 18,000 pupils writing the exam yearly
could lead to mental trauma.
According to the association, Dr Khan did not at-
tribute any report to the PAHO or to the Ministry of
Health, neither was any specific report on this issue
identified by Dr Khan in her contribution to the JSC.
The group said it was also incorrectly reported that
Dr Khan suggested that the SEA exam was partly to
blame for students being placed on suicide watch.
"Her comments on the SEA exam were in direct
response to a question by the Committee chairperson
on whether the SEA exam was a factor contributing to
suicide amongst students. Dr Khan indicated that the
SEA is indeed stressful for both parents and students
and it would be worthwhile to conduct more research
into the impact of the SEA exam on students."
The association commended the JSC on its work
and said it was "hopeful that the evident commit-
ment and fervour of its members can lead to tangible
developments. We would also like to commend the
Ministry of Health and its Mental Health Unit for their
work in engaging stakeholders to develop strategies
to address mental health issues.
It added that it was heartened by the current level
of national interest in improving mental health.
"There are many gaps that need to be addressed
and the association is resolute in its commitment
to contributing to developing effective solutions to
mental health problems, including that of children
at risk of suicide."
Dr Katija Khan
Burn survivor sent
abroad for treatment
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