Sunday, February 18, 2018

Aboud wants answers


Gary Aboud holds a catfish found washed ashore in La Brea yesterday. PHOTO: Innis Francis

Donstan Bonn

Secretary of the Fishermen and Friends of the Sea (FFOS) Gary Aboud is calling on Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar to retract the statement she made four months ago that the oil spill in La Brea was under control.

Aboud visited Station Beach, La Brea yesterday where areas were still covered by black oil residue and several dead fishes.

He claimed that a lot of what covered the coastline was oil mixed with Corexit 9500, a chemical used in the clean up. The oil spill occurred last December.

Aboud said the Government continued to ignore several issued since the oil spill which residents, fishermen and the people of Trinidad and Tobago need answered.

Aboud said : "Since January/February there is a change in tidal movement. A big influx of sand that came and cover up the Corexit oil that was abandoned on the beach and the shallow area. We are not in June the waves have changed and are coming and removing the sand and it is being depleted and uncovering the oil and that oil mixed with coexist and washing into the sea. We are calling on the EMA to do what they have the authority to do and to command and force Petrotrin to dispatch crews to come in and clean it up."

Aboud said Persad-Bissessar deployed a special Cabinet committee to investigate the oil spill to come up with remedial action. But six weeks ago Environment and Water Resources Ganga Singh announced that the report on the oil spill by the emergency investigative unit was ready but the public was not made aware of the findings.

"Why did they not report it publicly, What does the report say about the coexist and that our reading has shown it is highly toxic. Why being kept secret?" Aboud said.

He said because of the oil spill there was a decline in fishermen’s catchment from 40 to 80 per cent. He said the beaches were unsafe for beach goers as the waters remains toxic.

Since the spill several dead dolphins, fishes, crabs and birds have washed ashore. Aboud dismissed claims that only one species of fish was washing up dead.

He identified that along the beach were dead "catfish and moonshine" fishes. Aboud said the Institute of Marine Affairs was responsible for the health of the public and that signs should be posted warning persons of the dangers of using the beaches.