Ian K Ramdhanie, msC,
President of the Claxton Bay Fishing Association Kishore Boodram has called on Planning Minister Dr Bhoendradatt Tewarie to address the concerns of the marine industry as the Government moves forward with plans to develop central Trinidad. He said so while addressing a Planning Ministry consultation on the proposed implementation strategy for the 4Cs Growth Pole in central Trinidad, Couva on Wednesday. The consultation was at the chamber’s conference centre, Camden, Couva. Several developmental plans for the 4Cs—Couva, Chaguanas, Carapichaima and Charlieville—were presented. The 4Cs form part of Government’s overall development plans for the five growth poles in T&T.
Boodram, in pleading his case, said fisherfolks and the marine sector were largely ignored in developmental plans and called for more consultation with them. Pollution, he said, was a major problem. He said the La Brea oil spill was just one case. “There is a lot of pollution (in the Gulf of Paria). It is not only what we have seen in the last three weeks happening in La Brea. It is a regular thing to see oil. They have a lot of pollution problems in the Point Lisas area. They do not have proper lines,” he lamented. Boodram said ships have been dumping their wastewater in the Gulf of Paria. He said he was pleased with the development plans for the central region he believed there should be consultation with fisherfolks to address the impact of the developments.
He contended that the fishing grounds were being destroyed and industrial development was “squeezing the fisherfolk into a little box.”
He lamented that because of the industrial sector “damage has been done to the fishing sector.” Assistant co-ordinator of Town and Country Planning Marie Hinds assured Boodram that concerns raised by fishermen would be addressed. She said there was an integrated coastal management committee which had been addressing environmental concerns. “Do not think that the point you are making about the pollution is being ignored,” Hinds said. She told Boodram the committee was in the process of producing a report and would develop a plan to address the concerns raised. Meanwhile, Point Lisas Industrial Port Development Corporation Limited (PLIPDECO) president E Ashley Taylor announced that the Point Lisas port would be expanded in phases. He said a comprehensive feasibility study was being conducted on the project which would add five more berths to the existing port.