Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 17th 2013 Contents A6
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Minister of the Environment
and Water Resources Ganga
Singh will meet tomorrow with
stakeholders to come up with a
solution to address reports of an
oil spill in the Gulf of Paria caused
by two of 12 derelict vessels.
Singh said in a phone interview
with the T&T Guardian yesterday
he planned to meet with the Min-
istries of Energy and Transport, the
Maritime Services Division and
other agencies to "come up with a
plan to deal with the reality now."
He said he would try to contact
Energy Minister Kevin Ramnarine
about using the National Oil Spill
Contingency Plan to clean up the
spill. However, Singh said, legisla-
tive change may be required to
address future problems.
The EMA said last week derelict
vessels were not in its jurisdiction
but were the responsibility of the
Maritime Services Division.
A December 11 T&T Guardian
report highlighted there might be
more than 12 vessels sunk in the
Gulf. Singh also indicated that
during the meeting he intended
to get a true picture of the number
of derelict vessels.
The ships have been anchored
a mile off Bayshore in the north-
western peninsula for approxi-
mately two years.
Originally owned by a New
Orleans-based company, Tidewa-
ter Marine, they were bought by
a local company, Trinidad Vina
Ltd, which intended to convert
them to scrap metal and sell them
to China. That did not happen.
A group of concerned citizens
called for government intervention
to address the problem.
The group, led by T&T Game
Fishing Association members
Steven Valdez and Jonathan De La
Rosa, said in follow-up media
reports that not only did the ships
pose an environmental risk but
there were concerns of suspicious
activity on the vessels.
It also voiced concerns about
boaters entering the space who
may be unaware of the vessels'
location and the potential risk of
Commodore Garnet Best, a
contractor responsible for the
management of wrecked vessels
and legal affairs for the Maritime
Services Division, has been dealing
with the owner, Nguyen Hai Chau,
owner of Trinidad Vina Ltd, for
more than a year.
One of the drivers involved in the acci-
dent which claimed the life of Andrew
Edwards, 20, has been fined $4,500 for
Chemical engineer Darill Powder, 47,
was fined yesterday after Magistrate Natalie
Diop refused to allow him to change his
plea to not guilty.
The magistrate, presiding in the Point
Fortin court, also rejected an application
by the State to stay his sentence as the
Director of Public Prosecutions moves to
charge him with causing death by dangerous
Powder, who was also injured in the
crash, had pleaded guilty on November 11
to driving under the influence of alcohol.
The details of the accident were not
revealed in court, but court prosecutor Sgt
Jitmansingh informed the magistrate that
The fatal accident took place on Novem-
ber 10 on the Southern Main Road, La Brea.
Jitmansingh said when corporal Maloney
spoke with Powder he had a strong alcohol
odour on his breath and his speech was
slurred. Powder was arrested and taken to
the police station where the first breathal-
yser test recorded a score of 80 micro-
The second test recorded a reading of
74 mcg. The legal limit is 35 mcg per
100 millilitres of breath.
Powder, who did not have an attorney
then, claimed he had some drinks at a
work-related function, but he did not realise
he was over the limit.
The magistrate granted him $50,000
own bail and deferred sentencing. But,
when Powder returned to court on Novem-
ber 14, he was represented by attorney
Cedric Neptune, who said Powder wanted
to change his plead to not guilty.
Both the state and defence attorneys
agreed that the magistrate had a discretion
to allow a change of plea, but that discretion
has to be exercised sparingly.
In her ruling on Friday, Diop said Powder
was unequivocal in his plea and did not
appear not to understand what a guilty
Neptune then asked the magistrate to
reject the State's request for a stay of sen-
tence, deeming it inappropriate. He said
no liability has been ascribed to his client
for the accident, which is still under inves-
Asking for leniency, Neptune said his
client, apart from this incident, is a law-
abiding citizen and the father of four chil-
dren. Neptune said Powder has worked at
Tucker Energy Services for over 20 years
and had strong ties to the community.
The magistrate ordered Powder to pay
the fine in a day or serve seven months'
imprisonment with hard labour.
More than a month after it was
deemed illegal by Town and Country
Planning Division (TCPD) the electronic
billboard at the bottom of Lady Chan-
cellor Hill is still operating.
It was erected last month by the Hor-
ticultural Division of the Ministry of Food
However, On November 4, Town and
Country Planning Division director Clyde
Watche deemed it illegal because it did
not have the TCPD's permission for out-
The billboard stands among the green-
ery near the road leading up to former
West Indies cricket captain Brian Lara's
The Horticultural Division was warned
on November 4 and given 28 days to
However, an agreement was made
between the division and TCPD for a
retroactive application for approval.
Horticultural Division acting director
Kamaldeo Maharaj spoke to the T&T
Guardian yesterday to say he spoke to
TCPD last week and was told the appli-
cation was still being processed.
"The billboard is still operational and
we are really waiting on a decision from
TCPD, then we can proceed accordingly,"
Watche could not be reached for further
The application process was delayed at
first by Watche's bereavement leave.
Shortly after he deemed the billboard
illegal, a close relative died and he was
unable to come to work.
The T&T Guardian has not been able
to get an update from TCPD since he
returned to work late last month.
on oil spill in Gulf
Problem of 'iron graveyard' also on agenda
Ministry's Illegal billboard still up and running
Man fined $4,500 for drunk driving
BY ANY MEANS
A wrecking crew is determined to get a car parked on Prince Street, Port-of-Spain, yesterday as they push
it into the middle of the road to wreck it. PHOTO: MARCUS GONZALES
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