Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Address relocation, compensation for residents

Roget calls on PM, Petrotrin:


OIL SLICK STILL VISIBLE: La Brea resident Avian Rankin, third from left, shows OWTU president Ancel Roget an  area where the oil slick is still visible during his visit to Coffee Beach yesterday. Looking on are members of the Joint Trade Union Movement. —Photo: TREVOR WATSON

Mark Fraser

IF Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar does not address the concerns of La Brea residents affected by the oil spills in the country immediately, she can expect a visit to her office in Port of Spain soon.

President of the Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union (OWTU) Ancel Roget yesterday called on the Prime Minister and Petrotrin to address concerns of health relocation and compensation for the residents.

Roget and other trade union leaders visited residents yesterday at Coffee Beach, one of the most affected areas in the community.

He listened to their concerns and said residents should be treated as first class citizens because they too were stakeholders in the oil industry.

He said the residents deserved more than relocation to the La Brea Community Centre which was initially offered by Petrotrin, higher wages, proper health care and some form of compensation as soon as possible. Proper personal protection equipment (PPE) and training should also be given  to all residents involved in the clean-up operations.

Roget said residents could die from short term and long term effects of the oil spill if measures were not taken to treat ill people properly.

Sherry-Ann Francis and Denecia Gilbert  told Roget they  cannot work at their normal jobs because of the spill and their lives have been messed up.

Francis, 46, who suffers from severe venous failure and operates a centre for homeless people, as well as baby sits, claims he cannot take care of others because of the polluted environment.

Gilbert, 24, a hairdresser, said all her clients were now going to other people for the service and her two children were ill.

The residents complained that Petrotrin was being insensitive to the medical needs of people. 

Although they have provided medical care, she said Petrotrin officials were not meeting directly with the residents to at least “show some concern”. —SW