Members of the Otaheite Fisherfolk Association are calling on State-owned Petrotrin to resume loss of earnings payments to fishermen affected by last December’s oil spill in the Gulf of Paria.
Petrotrin has however stated that it has made its last payments in accordance with the agreement.
Fisherman Raffick Khan said fishermen were being made to pay the price of Petrotrin’s negligence.
“Negligence on the part of Petrotrin and we have to pay the price still,” he said.
The association held a news conference yesterday at Otaheite expressing its displeasure with Petrotrin for stopping payments.
The association stated that an agreement was made with Petrotrin to pay compensation to fishermen affected by the oil spill and the last payment was made in April.
The fishermen who earned their living in waters off Otaheite and La Brea have not returned to their trade since the oil spill.
Khan said, “Our livelihood has been destroyed. I only know fishing, how you want me to feed my family now?”
Approximately 82 fishermen have been affected by the spill.
Khan said the most fruitful time for fishing was March to August. He said no consultation was given about clean-up plans by Petrotrin or the Environmental Management Authority (EMA).
He said, “We are the ones now suffering”.
The association wants a meeting with Petrotrin to discuss the possibility of the resumption of payments. Khan said Petrotrin officials had informed them to return to their trade.
In a press release yesterday, Petrotrin advised that in accordance with an agreement for the payment of ex-gratia sums to affected fisherfolk groups and associations, payments in excess of TT$22 million were made up to the first week in May 2014.
“Since then, the final payment to fisherfolk in La Brea representing outstanding money owed, was made on 2014 July 19, representing full and final compensation in accordance with the said agreement.
“The Cabinet-appointed National Environmental Assessment Task Force was established to oversee all activities necessary to address the environmental impact of the December oil spills and provide guidance to the EMA as the lead agency in the clean-up efforts of the mangrove.”