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Parents calling for answers

30 children treated for illness in La Brea...

By Carolyn Kissoon carolyn.kissoon@trinidadexpress.com

THE parents of some 30 children treated for vomiting and diarrhoea in La Brea have accused the Government of being negligent and failing to acknowledge the seriousness of the recent fish kill.

The children were taken to health centres and the Point Fortin District Hospital, complaining of feeling unwell. And their parents are pleading with the authorities to find out what caused the dead fish to wash ashore.

“We want to know what is causing this and whether this is responsible for our children to get sick. We want to know how serious this is. We want to know how we can protect our children and how serious this is,” resident Oneca Branker-Showers said.

The dead fish continued to wash ashore yesterday at Coffee Beach, La Brea, the same place thick, black crude washed up last December.

Families living along the coastline complained the foul stench was overbearing.

Harold Bissessar, a resident, said he was unwell. “This smell is too much for me. I have to lock up my doors and stay inside because I’m getting headaches and feeling nauseous,” he said.

Anika Goodridge, 22, said her two children were also treated for vomiting and diarrhoea. “My children were sick, too. I don’t know what is causing it. Is it the chemical used to remove the oil from the water? We need to know, we have young children here,” she said.

Another resident, Tenisha Mo­deste, and her son have suffered allergic reactions to the dead fish. “We are allergic to fish and since the dead fishes coming up, we have swollen eyes and rashes all over our bodies. We went to the doctor again this morning,” she said.

Branker-Showers said residents were disappointed with the length of time it was taking to examine the dead fish and determine the cause of death. “These dead fishes are causing people to fall ill. We want to know if it is the chemical or something else causing them to die,” she said.

The Environmental Management Authority visited the area again yesterday and collected samples of the dead fishes.

State-owned Petrotrin has set up a team to investigate the cause of the fish kill in La Brea. 

The company stated samples of dead fish from La Brea “have been taken to UWI Veterinary School for testing and analysis. Further to these investigations, and in the interest of transparency, Petrotrin has contracted an independent certified laboratory to conduct water and sediment-quality testing in La Brea beaches”. 

The Institute of Marine Affairs (IMA) has also launched an investigation into the fish kill. IMA’s chief information officer, Dr Beverly Foster-Hinds, said a full report on the fish kill is expected to be completed in two weeks.

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