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"No compensation from Petrotrin"

Marabella oil spill...

By Sandhya Santoo sandhya.santoo@trinidadexpress.com

MARABELLA residents affected by last month's oil spill left last Thursday's meeting with Petrotrin, disappointed and demanding substantial compensation, relocation and treatment to health problems.

"Petrotrin needs to stop playing games with people lives," said Alister Cephas, who is heading a five- member delegation of residents who have met with Petrotrin officials on several occasions to discuss
how the company would made amends following the July 29 spill into the Guaracara River.

The spill of thousands of barrels of oil blackened the river, and
led to the evacuation of people at Silk Cotton Road, Battoo Avenue.

Cephas told the Express residents have not yet received any form of compensation from Petrotrin. He said Petrotrin representatives only
took note of their concerns and were told their (the residents) complaints would be taken to higher authorities. Cephas said he wants to meet with the higher authority and not the "middleman".

Cephas is also concerned the residents' health will be compromised
like those living in La Brea, where a spill that came ashore last December, affected residents who are still complaining of feeling dizzy, with swollen eyes, skin rash and nausea.

The clean-up exercise and environmental recovery at the Pointe-a-Pierre refinery continues.

A release from Petrotrin stated, "medical issues have been identified as a priority for both the Company and the residents. The second phase of medical evaluations of persons will commence on Monday 2014 August 18".

Cephas said Petrotrin officials suggested that the meeting that there be a one year period of medical testing but refused to accept this saying "medical tests should go on for twenty years".

He added that Petrotrin's medical team will conduct blood, liver and lung testing on the residents. He also said compensation needs to be given to the residents who have been out of work due to their ill health-related issues. Cephas said he suggested Petrotrin create permanent employment for residents as the new school term fast approaching. He said Petrotrin told residents that assistance would be given for purchasing school items however they (Petrotrin) will have further discussions on the matter of compensation.

SIDE BAR:

*Some residents affected in last year's oil spill in La Brea are complaining of hair loss and skin rash as a result of the spill.

*In a release Petrotrin stated that the team: has removed the residual slop oil which had seeped into the Guaracara River.

*Attention is now focused on clearing the river banks of any vestiges of slop oil and garbage.

*Petrotrin is also seeking the residents’ assistance in the clean-up exercises.

*Residents with concerns are reminded to contact our 24 hour emergency hotline at 658-4200 Ext. 2410


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