Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 5th 2013 Contents A4
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Wednesday, June 5, 2013
Environmental rules are being
reinforced by Government agencies
since T&T s industrialisation thrust
continues to negatively affect the
country, says Environment Minister
In a statement to the Senate yes-
terday on today s World Environment
Day, Singh said this year s theme was
Think, Eat, Save. It was aimed at
slashing food waste and loss in the
food supply chain, and encouraging
awareness of the environmental
impact of people s food choices.
Singh said food price inflation fell
to 9.4 per cent in April following
agricultural sector initiatives, accord-
ing to Central Statistical Office data.
However, he said, the discharge of
effluents from local industries and
the improper disposal of refuse and
waste was degrading rivers and
"Air pollution is a major environ-
mental problem as it occurs in most
areas of T&T, especially in more
densely populated communities," he
To address that, Singh said, the
ministry s regulatory arm, the Envi-
ronmental Management Authority
(EMA), had continued to issue reg-
istration certificates and water pol-
lution permits under the Water Pol-
lution Rules with a view to better
monitoring effluent discharge into
"The ultimate objective of this piece
of legislation is to protect the integrity
of T&T s supply of drinking water
and water resources," he added.
EMA has begun to review its leg-
islation to ensure more efficient and
effective enforcement. New legislation
also was being finalised, Singh added.
That included the development of
ambient water quality standards, air
quality rules and solid waste rules.
He said solid waste disposal
required critical attention. Regulations
were being finalised for the beverage
containers legislation, which proposed
a deposit refund system to treat with
the waste from that source and which
could also stimulate many down-
stream waste industries, he said.
Singh said indiscriminate dumping
of solid waste could lead to flooding.
The minister said his ministry s
Drainage Division had completed 30
flood-mitigation projects with several
more ongoing, also was upgrading
drainage channels and the ministry
was engaging the IDB for funding to
alleviate Port-of-Spain s drainage
He added: "There is need for a new
paradigm shift in environmental pol-
icy and management thinking. I have
commissioned the start of a national
environmental risk assessment study
and the development of protocols
and also mandated the commission-
ing of baseline studies."
Singh said the ministry was under-
taking a project to reduce and phase
out the use of ozone-depleting sub-
stances, such as hydrochlorofluoro-
carbons (HCFCs), methyl bromide
and other similar substances that
polluted the air.
WASA is refurbishing several
wastewater treatment plants, via a
US$546.5 million IDB loan, to build
plants in Malabar and San Fernando.
The Priority Bus Route would also
have a "greening" programme with
solar-powered lights, electric buses
and fitting of buses and red band
maxis with compressed natural gas
Ganga moves to curb
industrial waste dumping KALIFA SARAH CLYNE
Environmentalist and director
of Papa Bois Conservation,
Stephen Broadbridge, says T&T
has made significant progress
on environmental issues in
recent years but could be mov-
ing a lot faster.
In a telephone interview yes-
terday Broadbridge said he had
seen progress but it needed to
"A few years ago turtle-hunt-
ing was legal in hunting season.
Today it is totally illegal and we
have seen significant efforts in
the wildlife act being rewritten,"
Even so, Broadbridge said, it
was important for both the Gov-
ernment and the citizens of the
country to pay attention to envi-
ronmental issues as it was not
just about wildlife and plant pro-
tection but was crucial to human
health and survival.
He gave the example of people
who smuggled pets into the
country from South America:
"They just discovered bird flu
in Venezuela and people are still
continuing to smuggle animals
from that country. It is only a
matter of time before there is
human life lost."
Broadbridge also said the
country had made very little
progress on slash-and-burn prac-
titioners on hillsides despite the
disastrous flooding that resulted
in Diego Martin and Maraval.
"People need to be arrested for
it. it is not taken seriously but
when you see people in Diego
Martin getting their home and
lives destroyed because of floods
they wonder why.
"They need to get more serious
about forest fires, particularly on
He said Government also
needed to concentrate on man-
ufacturers who dumped chemical
waste in rivers and the ocean.
Broadbridge felt the Environ-
mental Management Authority
(EMA) needed to start taking its
job more seriously.
"I am not satisfied with the
EMA. They are good at facilitating
the requests of big businesses
but the EMA needs to start pro-
tecting the environment."
Broadbridge felt it was evident
that slowly, the public was
becoming more aware of envi-
ronment issues and were taking
steps to contribute to their pro-
Environmentalist Stephen Har-
ris agreed that environmental
consciousness among citizens
had grown but said it had a long
way to go:
"There are a lot of citizens that
want to see the environment
flourish but Government is mov-
ing slowly on implementing sus-
tainable, impactful initiatives."
he added. Harris said the Gov-
ernment could look at models
that existed in other countries
and learn from them.
National Security Minister
Emmanuel George says he has
only been in office for about five
weeks and the police were leading
the crime fight.
In an interview with reporters
during yesterday s Senate tea break,
George said in due course he would
make a determination of any new
strategy to be implemented.
He was asked to comment on
the spate of increased murders in
the past three days.
He said he was being "guided
by officials in the ministry, the
Police Service and the Defence
"I am taking my cue from them
and later on I will be able to come
to my own determination as to
where we will go."
George said he would provide
the ministerial leadership for the
police to do their job "but I will
not usurp the functions at all as
Asked to comment on the pos-
sible factors for the upsurge in
crime, George said he was unable
to do so. He said, however, the
police were doing all they could to
address the situation and the public
must support them to ensure they
did their jobs to the best of their
"I think there are too many anti-
police statements being made by
people generally," he added.
George said the population must
remember the events of July 1990
when "it was a free-for-all once
the police were not there."
He said the population must also
realise that "with all their faults,
the police was all we have between
anarchy and civil order."
Earlier, he said Government was
still considering proposals to
acquire naval vessels from Colom-
bia, the US and Israel and no deci-
sion had as yet been taken.
The vessels are to be used by
the Coast Guard to protect the
country s borders.
George said the Government was
also looking in the interim to
repair13 vessels which had been
A 24-year-old man suspected of
shooting a police sergeant in the face
early yesterday morning was shot
in a second incident hours later.
The man, of Eastern Quarry,
Laventille, remained warded in a crit-
ical condition at the Intensive Care
Unit (ICU) of the Port-of-Spain Gen-
eral Hospital up to late yesterday.
He was shot four times in the head
during a shootout with the police in
According to police reports, around
2 am Sgt Knott and PC Hernandez
of the Port-of-Spain Division Task
Force were on patrol in Beetham Gar-
dens when they saw a man standing
at the side of the road.
Investigators said the man drew a
gun and shot at the officers.
Knott, who was in the front seat,
was shot once in the face. Police said
the bullet entered one side of his face
and exited the other. The gunman
Hernandez drove off and took his
colleague to hospital. Knott was treat-
ed and was warded in a stable con-
Investigators said almost two hours
later, members of the Inter-Agency
Task Force (IATF) spotted the suspect
while they were patrolling Dan Kelly,
They attempted to arrest him but
claimed he immediately began shoot-
ing at them. They returned fire, hitting
him four times in his head.
Investigators said a loaded 9 mm
pistol was found on the scene.
The weapon was taken to the
Forensic Science Centre in St James
where ballistic testing would be done
to determine if it matched the one
that was fired at Knott.
Insp Sahadeo Singh and Cpl Sirju
of the Besson Street CID visited the
scene and are investigating both inci-
Food Production Minister Devant Maharaj stands over president of the National Trade Union Centre James
Lambert as he signs a new collective agreement for Namdevco employees at the Ministry of Food Production, St
Clair, yesterday. Also at the signing are chairman of the Namdevco Board Ronald Forde, left, and chief executive
Ganesh Gangapersad. Staff will receive backpay for six years, along with other incentives.
PHOTO: MARCUS GONZALES.
Call for more action
on evironment issues
George: Police leading
fight against crime
Man suspected of shooting cop shot hours later
NEW WAGE PACT
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