Blaming ‘boo-boo man’ for oil spill

While most people during this Christmas season are busy cleaning, preparing, shopping, entertaining etc, a few have other serious concerns: their livelihood and their next move, literally. Some of us watch on helplessly as our fellowmen and women in the La Brea region and its immediate environs have been devastated by several oil spills.
Rumours surfaced early about possible “sabotage”. These rumours have since taken a life of their own, where sabotage has been accepted as a fait accompli — the proverbial “boo-boo man” at work again, like the blackout in Port of Spain on Christmas Eve at around 2 p.m. or the nationwide blackout a few months earlier in the year.
Meanwhile, one man in this nation made a name for himself and a virtual career of being a self-described “environmentalist,” blocking trucks, tractors and other heavy equipment; starving himself outside the office of the PM, all in an effort to drive home the point that the environment is all-important. It is a point with which I must say I agree. But if the environment is of importance — and it is — is it fair to be silent on a major disaster?
If we are concerned with the mangroves and the wildlife they sustain, then shouldn’t our concern be about mangroves and wildlife all over? When concerns are expressed only in terms of lands available for highways in one region, while this environmentalist extraordinaire ignores the devastation taking place in the hills in D’Abadie where he and I live, is he revealing his personal biases? One wonders if he has hidden agendas, as many before him.
Should he decide to speak, he should be able to commandeer the attention of the media — again. He is certain to attract more attention than his counterpart, Mr Aboud of the Fishermen and Friends of the Sea, from whom we have already heard, raising serious questions on the matter.
The term “sabotage” continues to bother me. It bothers me if only for the reason that in their alleged ability to protect these facilities, employees with the mandate and responsibilities received bonuses, even as the oil trickled down to the beaches.
Sabotage is akin to saying “I know Mr Big”. It is akin to having one fall guy for Section 34 while the others go “unscathed”, including the proverbial “big fish”. The term “sabotage” allows individuals to continue with business as usual in their collective negligence and irresponsibility, as they consistently do in Parliament, while the ODPM makes the bold claim of “monitoring the situation”.
Meanwhile the lives of the people in the affected areas have been disrupted beyond recognition. While children all over looked forward to waking up Christmas morning with great anticipation, those affected children have had their dreams shattered and hopes covered in black gold, most too young to understand that adults, someplace, sabotaged their joy. Could they ever learn to trust us adults again?
Why is it that the poor must always suffer because of incompetence and negligence? This is allowed again and again as no one is ever held accountable; no heads roll; no one goes to jail. Until such time, we will continue to blame the boo-boo man, the jumbie man, the obeah man and the soucouyant.
Rudy Chato Paul, Sr
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