LEADER of the Independent Liberal Party (ILP) Jack Warner said yesterday the oil spill at La Brea should not be politicised, but was instead a collective problem to be solved.
Warner spoke to the media after he and ILP deputy political leader Lyndira Oudit toured areas in La Brea affected by the spill. Warner said he was disappointed in the clean-up operations he observed.
“This is a callous disregard for the people of La Brea. The people of La Brea want to know who is going to be held accountable for this. Had the Ministry of Energy and Petrotrin been doing their job this would not have happened. Christmas will go and we will hear nothing about it. I spoke to Member of Parliament Fitzgerald Jeffrey and asked how we can help together. This is not a PNM (People’s National Movement) problem, this is a collective problem that we have to resolve”, said Warner.
He said: “It seems Petrotrin does not have any urgency in dealing with this matter. And I sincerely hope it is not because the people of La Brea are of a different political persuasion. I don’t think one should discriminate in a situation which is as urgent as this”.
Asked about the purpose of his visit, Warner said: “I came to see what the Government was doing. If they were acting in the people’s interest then I would have nothing to say. But after the Government seems to have withdrawn and gone back in their comfort zone I decided to come down”, he said.
Warner said today he intends to write to Minister of Energy Kevin Ramnarine on the situation.
“I intend to tell him that I have been advised that it has gotten worse and I expect him to tell me what measures are in place to deal with it. Secondly for those people who need to be relocated I will ask the minister what measures are in place for relocation. And last but not least, I would ask Petrotrin about this”, he said.
Warner said he would advise Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar to deal with the oil spill “before she takes care of other people’s business”.
He said: “I have no problem with St Lucia and St Vincent. They have their problems and we shall help them. But charity begins at home. Help people here first. Although she is away, there are 32 other ministers in her Cabinet and they should try to find a solution”.
Oudit said the oil spill had affected the entire south-western peninsula.
She said, “The south-west peninsula is the crab and shrimping fishing area of the country, what is going to happen to the country as this unravels. What about our flora and fauna, the crab and the mangrove? I mean La Brea is an ecological mine and the kind of biodiversity that we have here on the south west peninsula this is the feeding ground of the scarlet ibis. This is going to affect the diversity and dynamism of the environment. It is a tremendous disaster.”