Wednesday, February 21, 2018

La Brea residents want answers

Families living in coastal villages on the south-west peninsula are demanding answers after a dead dolphin washed ashore at Union Beach, Vessigny, La Brea, on Wednesday.

The residents claimed that after the free meals stopped and most of the black crude was mopped up in the wake of last December’s oil spills in the Gulf of Paria, they were forgotten by State-owned Petrotrin and the Government.

“Now we see a dead dolphin washed ashore. The authorities keep saying it has nothing to do with the chemical used to clean up the beaches, but I want them to answer the question—why are dead fish washing ashore in La Brea only?” asked resident Oneca Branker-Showers.

Branker-Showers said children continue to fall sick and their cries seem to be falling on deaf ears.

“We feel like we are shouting and no one is hearing us. Why are they ignoring us like this? We are humans and we feel we are in grave danger,” she said.

The residents continue to blame the dispersant, Corexit 9500, which was used in the oil-spill clean-up, for hundreds of dead fish washing up on the beaches.

The oil washed ashore at beaches in La Brea last December.

The 1,000-plus-pound dead dolphin was discovered in the surf by residents Russell Partap and his wife Dawn.

The couple dragged the animal ashore and contacted the Environmental Management Authority (EMA).

The dolphin’s carcass was taken to The University of the West Indies (UWI) School of Veterinary Medicine at Mt Hope.

A necropsy, an autopsy done on animals, was conducted to determine the age, sex and species of the mammal. 

An officer confirmed the procedure was performed by Dr Rod Seupaul and Dr Carla Phillips.

 The Express was told samples were taken from the mammal and sent for further testing.

Officials from the Institute of Marine Affairs (IMA) and EMA visited Union Beach and conducted a preliminary examination of the dolphin.

The Express was told the mammal was three metres long.

The EMA issued a statement last week explaining that the hundreds of dead mullet found on beaches in La Brea had not died from the use of Corexit 9500.