The Member of Parliament for Couva North, Ravi Ratiram is again calling on the Minister of National Security, Hon. Fitzgerald Hinds to establish a T&T Coast Guard base at the Carli Bay Fishing Facility, after two fishing vessels were set ablaze early this morning. At around 4:00 am today, the two vessels owned by Mr. Naresh Popal and Mr. Wayne Ali were set on fire at the Carli Bay fishing facility.
This attack comes months after a series of similar arson attacks in April 2021 when MP Ratiram pleaded with Minister Hinds to take measures to protect the fishermen and their assets. Following that incident, MP Ratiram met with Minister Hinds together with President of the Carli Bay Fishing Association, Mr. Imitaz Khan, President of the Claxton Bay Fishing Association, Mr. Necolson Seecharan, as well as representatives of the Trinidad & Tobago Coast Guard (TTCG) and the Trinidad & Tobago Police Service (TTPS) Coastal and Riverine Unit.
At that meeting, MP Ratiram presented several recommendations for the Carli Bay Fishing Facility including the establishment of a TTCG/TTPS base, installation of CCTV cameras, the construction of a security booth and improving the lighting at the facility. Despite the Minister giving his commitment to assist, it is disheartening that the struggles of these fishermen continue to be ignored by the Government. It is unacceptable that almost one year later, nothing has been done to increase the security of these fishermen at the Carli Bay facility.
Following this morning’s attack, the Couva North MP held discussions with several stakeholders including the vessel owner Mr. Wayne Ali, the Councillor for area, Mr. Allan “Taxi” Seepersad, and Director of Fisheries at the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries, Ms. Narissa Lucky regarding a proposal to hire a private security company to guard these vessels, at the expense of the Carli Bay fishermen who are now both fearful and desperate to protect their livelihood. Both the TTPS and TTCG were advised of the move and agreed in principle.
The fishermen have little choice but to take this course of action because of the incompetence of the Government through the Minister’s failure to implement the recommendations proposed by MP Ratiram.
Despite spending billions each year, it is outrageous that fishermen in one of the most popular fishing facilities in the country continue to suffer from these frequent attacks. If the Minister is unable to perform his basic function, he should step aside and allow someone competent to get the job done.
Member of Parliament for Couva North