Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 3rd 2014 Contents A9
Thursday, April 3, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
5• BBQ ACCESSORIES • VASES
9 Pole Carew St., Woodbrook
OFF ALL UMBRELLAS
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for APRIL 02nd 2014
JENSEN LA VENDE
Three workers at the Insect Vec-
tor Control Division headquarters,
Cunupia, fell ill yesterday after
breathing in fumes from a chem-
ical storage area.
Staff complained that they had
been clamouring for the warehouse
to be removed, as it posed a risk
to their health. It is used to store
poisonous chemicals such as
Malathion and temephos, which
are used to kill mosquitoes,
Public Services Association (PSA)
president Watson Duke said he was
aware of yesterday s incident and
warned that unless the chemicals
were removed he would not be
allowing his members back on the
But in response, Health Minister
Fuad Khan said he believed acts of
sabotage might be responsible for
the three employees falling ill.
In a telephone interview with
the T&T Guardian yesterday Khan
said the incident, which happened
around 8.30 am, was the second
"unusual" incident in two weeks.
He said an office building there
was flooded two weeks ago "with-
out cause" and the matter was now
"I will catch whoever is respon-
sible," Khan said.
Employees who spoke to the
T&T Guardian on condition of
anonymity said the three workers
began feeling ill shortly after arriving
at work, but after complaining to
their superiors they were told they
were faking and they should "go
and do the government work."
The workers added that after one
woman began vomiting and another
fainted, their superiors contact
edthe Emergency Health Services
(EHS) ,who took them to the
Chaguanas Health Facility.
The row between fisherfolk and
environmentalist Gary Aboud esca-
lated into a cursing showdown at
the lookout on Invaders Bay, north-
west Trinidad, yesterday morning.
"You don t know anything about
fish! Go back to your cloth!" angry
shrimp trawler owner Larry Khan
shouted at Aboud, secretary of the
activist group Fishermen and Friends
of the Sea (FFOS).
Khan and other fisherfolk were
invited by Aboud to the seaside press
conference which was called to clear
the air on Aboud s earlier statement
about contaminated fish which had
led people to stop buying fish.
A fuming Khan threatened to
dump the dead fish Aboud had been
collecting at his store, Mode Alive,
Frederick Street, Port-of-Spain.
Khan said it was not proven that
Corexit 9500, the dispersant used
by Petrotrin in last December s oil
spills, had killed the fish.
He said people did not consume
mullet, which was disputed by other
fisherfolk present, and Aboud had
no evidence that other fish, like
salmon, were washing up dead.
He said Aboud s statements were
affecting his business.
Independent marine biologist
Robin Ramdeen, in defence of
Aboud, shouted obscenities at Khan.
"I cussed him out," Ramdeen told
the T&T Guardian. "He apologised.
As a mother, environmental scientist,
and citizen of T&T, the argument
of the lone, very well dressed, very
misguided shrimp-trawler was met
with my complete and utter dis-
Ramdeen said precautionary prin-
ciple stated in the absence of sound
scientific information, one should
err on the side of caution.
"The principle implies there is a
social responsibility to protect the
public from exposure to harm."
Asked how he felt about Khan s
threats, Aboud said: "It s all right.
We know fishermen are angry
because people stopped buying fish."
Fish sales, usually high in the
Lenten season, took a nose dive after
Aboud dumped two coolers of dead
fish, mostly mullet, in front of the
Environmental Management Author-
ity s (EMA), St Clair, office last week.
The media reported that he
warned people to stop eating fish
because he believed most of the fish
population was contaminated by
Corexit 9500. He said dead fish were
washing up on the southwest coast-
Aboud told the media yesterday
the reports had given the public the
impression he said people should
not eat any fish at all.
"I never meant for people to boy-
cott all fish. FFOS is aware there has
been a massive collapse in the sale
of fish. People are not buying," he
He said the group wanted to
remind the public that fish, shrimp,
crabs and oysters caught off the
north, east and south coasts of
Trinidad---were not expected to be
affected by the ongoing fish kills in
Clearing the air on Gulf of Paria
fish, he said it was only bottom-
feeders like waliac, salmon, mullet,
lippy, catfish, blinch, crapo, pom-
pano, bouchet and taraut that were
washing up dead.
"These fish are likely to be con-
taminated by Petrotrin s oil spill.
These fish should not be consumed,"
Carite, kingfish, dolphin, tuna,
wahoo, bonito --- all surface fish ---
were not washing up dead, Aboud
"Therefore, we believe surface fish
are not likely to be affected by
Petrotrin s oil spills," he added.
Aboud said the FFOS was calling
on Prime Minister Kamla Persad-
Bissessar to instruct Environment
Minister Ganga Singh to make a
definitive statement on what was
killing the fish.
He said the FFOS, based on its
analysis, was of the view the fish
kills were the result of Petrotrin s
use of Corexit 9500 which became
highly toxic when mixed with oil.
Aboud said it was imperative the
Government declared how much
was used and where so a scientific
analysis could be done.
Fisherman, Aboud clash at
Invaders Bay meeting
Environmentalist Gary Aboud, right, and Larry Khan, left, square off during Fishermen and Friends of the Sea
press conference at Invaders Bay, Port-of-Spain, yesterday where both men argued in front of the media.
PHOTO: SHIRLEY BAHADUR
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