MP for Oropouche West, Davendranath Tancoo is demanding that Government agencies and Heritage Petroleum meet with representatives of those fisherfolk and residents affected by the oil spill in Woodland, for the purpose of providing a status update and the way forward in regards to compensation.
Over 70 persons who make their living through fishing and/or crab catching are severely affected. Their boats, equipment and engines have been damaged and due to the oil polluted river, the fish and crab habitats have been covered with oil and destroyed.
These are hardworking people who must face the river every day to make a living to feed their families. For the past week, they have not been allowed to go out to make their fish and crab catches, so no income.
MP Tancoo wants Heritage Petroleum to meet with the affected fisherfolk now to expedite compensation. He sees this as an environmental disaster in which the Ministry of Social Development could render emergency assistance to the families in the area.
According to Tancoo, Heritage Petroleum, still owned by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago, owe the people of Woodland immediate redress as this is entirely due to the incompetence of those managing the state’s petroleum assets. How could they not know that for three days the oil pressure was dropping on that pipe line? Were they asleep on the job?
Residents of Oropouche West and Fyzabad have also expressed grave concern about the presence of aging pipelines which have not been maintained for years, have rotted and are in danger of being compromised, causing further damage from multiple oil spills.
Tancoo expressed concern as well about reports that media were being turned away from covering the oil spill areas by officials of Heritage.
Tancoo said he and the local government representative for the area Doodnath Mayrhoo, as well as Edward Moodie, President of the South Oropouche Riverine Flood Action Group and other representatives of the community are demanding answers. There must be no coverup in this matter!
Citing the fact that many persons in the same community have not received compensation for flood assessment compensation completed since 2018, a concerned Tancoo declared that this fiasco will not be allowed to be swept under the carpet. Tancoo, an attorney, declared that residents must be compensated for their losses and that this must be done urgently. It is immoral to victimise citizens for the incompetence and negligence of the State.
It’s time this PNM government wakes up and faces the consequences of their years of mismanagement and incompetence! Compensate the fisherfolk now!