Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 7th 2014 Contents Standard
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Minimum wage still to be reviewed --- McLeod News --- Page A6
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Tuesday, January 7, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
for 06th JANUARY, 2014
Otaheite fishermen, who are already reeling
from losses because of the Petrotrin oil spill
along the southwestern peninsula, suffered
another blow yesterday after bandits broke into
their fishing depot on Sunday and stole three
boat engines, together valued at over $150,000.
Last afternoon, however, two of engines were
recovered along the beach.
Yesterday, an emotional Jagdaye Harrylal, 55,
said it seemed the Otaheite fisherfolk could not
catch a break in 2014. She said since the Decem-
ber 17 oil spill in the Gulf of Paria, they had not
been able to fish and now it seemed bandits were
targeting their fishing depot.
"They take my son, Sookdeo, engine. He get
a call they break open the lock and steal he
engine. That value $21,500. They say they find
two engines. I do not know if is he own and if
it go work again," she cried.
According to fishermen, the locker area where
the engines are stored was secured with a bolt
and lock on Sunday night. They said when they
returned yesterday morning the bolt had been
cut and several lockers were broken into.
Fisherman Sharaz Gafoor said the theft was
distressing since they were already struggling to
put food on their tables because of the oil spill.
"One month now nobody fishing, nobody
going out there... is real losses," he said.
"Now school opened and we have no money
to send children to school. We have to pay school
fees, transport. It really hard for us and now
today we have this kind of losses," he added.
Yesterday around 2.15 pm, two of the engines
were found a short distance from the depot.
Contacted for comment on the incident, SIDC
CEO Dr Doon Ramsaroop said he was awaiting
a detailed report. He said the stolen boat engines
and a power-washer had been recovered.
Ramsaroop acknowledged the fishermen s
concerns about security at the facility but said
they did not have adequate funds to hire security
there. He added that even if the SIDC installed
steel doors thieves would still find a way to get
into the locker room.
"The issue is to have armed security at that
site and that is very expensive," Ramsaroop said.
"When we took over the site there was no
security and we are now looking into the matter
to hire a private security firm. We are still trying
to source the funds to do so," he added.
From Page A1
In an immediate response yesterday, Oil-
fields Workers Trade Union president gen-
eral Ancel Roget said the suspended workers
were being used as scapegoats.
In a telephone interview, he said he did
not have the full details on the matter.
The T&T Guardian was also given a figure
of six employees, but while Roget could not
confirm that, he said he understood "lower
level" employees were suspended.
He added: "It is the union position that
the company is still protecting those persons
in higher management that are responsible.
If anybody is to be suspended it has to be
the superintendents and those persons in
charge of the ports.
"All the reports and recommendations
suggest that the lines ought to have been
changed out. Those employees are not in
charge of budgeting and changing out lines,
those in management are responsible for
"They are just scapegoats to cover their
(management) own slack inefficiency at the
level of management. We await with bated
breath to see when they will begin to sus-
pend the right persons."
He said the company was trying to protect
Protests affect clean-up
Friday also yesterday appealed to La Brea
residents and fishermen not to engage in
protest action. She said a recent three-day
protest action by residents had caused a
setback in clean-up operations in the area.
Friday appealed to residents to have dia-
logue with Petrotrin instead of protesting.
Awah said work along beaches in Cedros
had been completed and clean-up operations
in La Brea was about 80 per cent complete.
Describing the situation as a crisis, Friday
said it was a national problem and Petrotrin s
response team was on the ground working
24/7. She said the team had to be congrat-
ulated for the work it was doing.
Responding to reports that residents were
unable to send their children to school yes-
terday because some were ill and their par-
ents were unable to earn a living over the
past two weeks, Friday said last Friday the
company had given out schoolbags, lunch
bags, schoolbooks and snacks to 100 chil-
She said a medical team was also stationed
at the community centre and residents could
also visit Petrotrin s medical facility. Told
that residents claimed they were being
turned away at the medical facility, Awah
said he also received that report and an
investigation has been launched.
Thus far, Friday said, over 115 residents
had been hired to assist in clean-up oper-
In addition, she said the company had
signed off on compensation for some fish-
erfolk, while negotiations were ongoing for
Regarding the impact on the Otaheite
mangrove and the wildlife, Awah said the
company was working with Environmental
Management Authority (EMA) on a com-
prehensive plan in terms of rehabilitation.
(See page A9)
A preliminary report following an inves-
tigation commissioned by state-owned
Petrotrin, which stated that a failed pipeline
was behind the December 17 oil leak at
Pointe-a-Pierre, as it may not have under-
gone major inspections for over 17 years, is
erroneous, Friday also said yesterday.
The report, which was conducted by a
panel of Petrotrin employees, was submitted
to Petrotrin officials on December 24 and
one of its conclusions was that poor main-
tenence protocol may have led to the dete-
rioration of the line.
But commenting on the conclusion in
respect of the pipeline yesterday, Friday said
"that statement was inaccurate."
Baldeo said the line in question, #10, was
inspected in 2006 and 2009 and additional
work was done in 2011 and 2013.
"In fact, we do regular supervisory work
on those lines to check those lines so that
information is incorrect."
Friday said the purpose of the investigation
was to gather evidence, adding the report
was privileged and confidential.
GETTING IT RIGHT
There was an error in the name of the
architecture student featured in a story headlined
"Transformation for Beetham" that appeared on
page A7 on January 2.
His name is in fact Stefan Pinheiro. We apologise
to Mr Pinheiro and to readers for the error.
Roget on suspensions:
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