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Challenges of the Fishery
FFOS are encouraged despite the attacks

FFOS are encouraged despite the attacks

Date: February 20th 2019

Dear Editor/Newsroom,

Fishermen and Friends of the Sea (FFOS) are encouraged by the recent questions on the fisherfolks’ “regular” gas crisis posed in Parliament by the Honorable Opposition Senator Wade Mark, and welcome the lifeline thrown by the Hon. Franklyn Khan, Minister of Energy and Energy Industries. However we condemn the politicizing, the displaying of racially divisive placards and the accusations against FFOS at yesterday’s fisherfolk protest in front of Parliament.

On December 29th 2018, FFOS convened a national meeting at the Claxton Bay Fishing facility to consolidate a joint movement of fisherfolk to address the crippling effect of our Government’s decision to abruptly stop the supply of regular gasoline. Twenty three (23) fishing association leaders attended. A special committee of five was appointed to prepare correspondence to appeal for Governments intervention and to mobilize fishing communities nationwide. FFOS prepared the draft correspondence which was delivered to the Hon Prime Minister late January on the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Fisherfolk (TTUFF) letterhead.

FFOS state as follows:

  1. FFOS supports peaceful, non-violent protests and demonstrations to promote public interest awareness. However, FFOS condemn what appears to be political interference in these independent unaligned protests. FFOS is apolitical and will not participate in politically motivated protest.
  2. FFOS condemn falsehoods where politicians are claiming to represent fisherfolk. No politician has ever held widespread meetings with fisherfolk on this crisis.
  3. FFOS condemn placards displaying “D 1% Fishermen and Friends of D Sea” which diverges from the critical issue and appears to be a malicious racist attack on our Corporate Secretary who has served fishers and their environment without benefit for over 20 years.
  4. FFOS urgently await the outcome of the promised meetings with Government agents and Ministers which have been announced as a result of the TUFF letter. FFOS continue to appeal to our Government to protect the voiceless and to hasten these discussions as a matter of national emergency.

We maintain that there is a “reasonable expectation” that our Government have a “duty of care” to ensure that our member’s livelihoods are protected. There are legal precedents which FFOS prefer to resolve peacefully. Unless the Government acts with extreme urgency, lives and livelihoods will be destroyed.

Sincerely,

Gary Aboud

Corporate Secretary Fishermen and Friends of the Sea

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