Oil spill reaches Granville

Grim Christmas for residents, fishing community this year

By Kim Boodram

GRANVILLE Beach, one of the southwestern peninsula’s most popular recreational areas, was yesterday a bleak testament to the journey of the oil spilled last Tuesday from a Petrotrin facility.

A visit by the Express yesterday showed clean-up crews excavating an oil-soaked beach, sand and dispersing booms offshore to soak up incoming oil.

One cleaning crew member described the state of the beach as a disaster that will take time to resolve. Along the beach there was not a log, branch or pebble that was free and clear of oil.

Up to yesterday the smell of crude was strong on the beach. At the Granville Beach Facility, crude oil had breached the parking area with high tide.

At the bar across the street, one person inside the closed compound said business was likely to be poor for some time.

The bar and some residents who make their living from beachgoers, the latter of whom usually flock to the facility on weekends, are unsure as to how they will be compensated.

“A lot of business has been lost this weekend,” said one resident. “Plenty people would have come here for the Christmas season. A lot of excursions might have been cancelled.”

In Cedros, oil had yesterday begun to come ashore. While not as devastating as what had been seen in La Brea and Granville, fishermen were still concerned that they would not have been able to go out on the water last night and this morning.

“We are all right, we are safe,” said one fisherman. “But people definitely cannot go out for a few days.”

Along the beach, at least one oil-covered sea bird flapped about, not yet hindered by the thick black slick covering its body. A number of large, dead catfish littered the beach.

The people of Cedros were not yet worried but expressed concern for their fellow citizens in La Brea.

“This is terrible for them, how are they going to make out for Christmas?” said Vishnu Sahadeo of Cedros.

In La Brea yesterday, the mood among the residents and the fishing community remained grim. In spite of steady clean up efforts, Christmas has been ruined.

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