THE residents of La Brea had another visitor yesterday. This time it was People’s National Movement (PNM) official Pennelope Beckles.
She was accompanied by Member of Parliament for La Brea Fitzgerald Jeffrey, councillor for Palo Seco Christine Neptune and members of the PNM National Women’s League.
Beckles distributed 50 hampers for the families directly affected at Coffee Beach and nearby by last month’s oil spills. She spent almost five hours with residents, discussing their concerns.
Beckles said one of the reasons for the visit was to lend support to the affected women and children especially.
She also met with members of the La Brea Fisherfolk Association.
“My major concern is that in most countries, when disasters and oil spills like these happen, women and children are mostly affected. This area depends heavily on fishing. The Central Statistical Office and the Ministry of People and Social Development have stated that La Brea has the highest unemployment rate in the country,” said Beckles.
“When disasters happen and the fishermen cannot fish in the area, the Government now has to look at implementing measures to have some form of employment and job opportunities for the residents. The job opportunities do not seem to be there. A lot has to be done.”
Beckles, a former environment minister, said she was also concerned about the long-term effects of the spill and Government needed to ensure that such a spill does not occur again.
Denecia Gilbert, 24, said she was grateful for the visit and the hampers.
The hampers contained not only foodstuff, but stationery items, toiletries, insect repellent and light bulbs.
“It was very nice for them to come to La Brea and bring these hampers for us. We are grateful for anything no matter how small. It was also nice to see them come and really spend time with the residents and even the older folks who could not really walk, they went and visited,” said Gilbert.
“They did not have to do what they did by coming here to visit us and show some concern but we are grateful that they took the time out to do so,” she added.