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Extractive Sector
Mr. Khan, Oil Spill is not False

Mr. Khan, Oil Spill is not False

Date: May 8th , 2019

Dear Editor/Newsroom,

FFOS commend Franklin Khan for his response, but does not accept the statement that “there is no truth to media reports of an oil spill in the vicinity of Gaspar Grande”, in the Chaguaramas area.

It is a common occurrence that Oil is being accidentally spilt or deliberately dumped in the Chaguaramas and in the wider Gulf of Paria areas. This is true.

On Friday there was oil that washed into the Anchorage Bay area. (See attached photos and short Video).

On Monday morning there was reported oil sheen that was seen flowing out towards the First Bocas. At the peak of the Spring tide, the water moves at speeds up to 3 knots, but at much faster speeds through the narrow channel of the 1st Bocas. It means that oil in the Pointe Gourde- Chaguaramas area would flow out of the Gulf within an hour at falling tide leaving only the residual sheen and the culprits know it.

Witnesses have confirmed that they have relayed this information to the Government agencies when they were interviewed. Does the Minister know this?

The Ministry knows that there is a recurring history of oil being discharged by industrial service vessels that remove bilge and other waste oil from commercial vessels and oil rigs in this service area.

-On Monday 10th March FFOS released videos and photos of oil being dumped in the Port of Spain (POS) harbor. There was no prosecution and the culprits continue.

-FFOS highlighted the October 15th 2017 Chaguaramas oil spill culprits were not prosecuted and the tax payers were left to pay the cleanup costs.There was no prosecution and the culprits continue.

Month after month, year after year, FFOS have responded to countless reports of oil dumped or spilt in the North western peninsula. When will our Government prosecute, fine and incarcerate the Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of these companies as provided for in the Minerals Act? Is there one Law for CEOs and another for citizens?

Just yesterday, a video circulating on Facebook by Victor Roberts again highlighted the fact that oil spills are occurring everywhere, all the time.

Recently a locally produced, peer reviewed scientific study on cancer risks associated with consuming Gulf of Paria fish was published overseas. (Balgobin and Ramroop Singh, 2019). Fishers are suffering. While our sea and fish continue to be contaminated by cancer causing poly cyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, the Ministry and Government have a “duty of care” to ensure enforcement of the law “without fear or favor”.

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