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Extended medical hours for La Brea residents

Sunday, January 5, 2014
Petrotrin's communications manager George Commissiong, centre, speaks to La Brea residents during a meeting yesterday. With him are the company’s manager of personnel operations, Guneshdath Maharaj, left, and on scene commander, Lee Loy Chin Wing. PHOTO: KRISTIAN DE SILVA

Petrotrin has agreed to provide extended medical hours for La Brea residents affected by one of the worst oil spills in T&T’s history. This follows complaints from residents about poor medical care. They raised the issue during a meeting with Petrotrin officials at the Brighton Community Centre yesterday.



Petrotrin communications manager George Commissiong, manager of personnel operations Guneshdath Maharaj and on-scene commander Lee Loy Chin Wing, were on hand hear the complaints. Ralph Joseph told them his nine-month-old son was experiencing constipation because of the fumes. “This is a disaster zone. I live at Point Sable beach and no medical officer has yet visited that area,” Joseph said. He complained that the nurses at the temporary medical station in Brighton were hostile.


“A woman called me at 12.30 am to say her child cannot breathe. There was nobody at the medical station and there was no ambulance. When we called the Petrotrin hospital they told us we cannot be treated because we are not Petrotrin employees,” he said. Another resident, Jermel Pierre, said they did not know the name or contents of the medication given to them by nurses at the station.


“We don’t know what we taking. There is no doctor at the station. The triage system set up by Petrotrin is inadequate. What we need is relocation out of here. We do not know the long term impact it will have on us and it is three weeks now we are breathing in oil fumes,” he said. Pierre said the carcasses of iguanas, pelicans and fishes were washing up on the beaches. “The mouth of the river is thick with oil and yet they saying that the beaches have been cleaned. They are burying the oil,” he said. 


Commissiong said that Petrotrin had extended the working hours at the medical station from 8 am to 6 pm. Anyone who falls ill after 6 pm, will be treated at Petrotrin’s medical facilities in Point Fortin. Ching Wing also said  roads will be cleaned twice a day and they will work with residents to get the site cleaned as quickly as possible. 


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