Debe housewife Rita Chanka raised her eyebrows with a worried facial expression when she heard Finance Minister Colm Imbert yesterday mention property tax coming into effect next year.
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Second dead dolphin washes ashore
The discovery of another dead dolphin along the south-western coastline in three weeks has prompted calls for a foreign independent investigation. Speaking with reporters at Point Sable beach, La Brea, yesterday where the dolphin washed ashore, La Brea MP Fitzgerald Jeffrey said this strengthens his claim that the toxic Corexit 9500 dispersant used in the recent oil spill is responsible for the death of marine life.
Fisherman Wayne Henry found the six-foot, 100-pound mammal and several dead fish on Thursday evening. This comes even as the Environmental Management Agency (EMA), the Institute of Marine Affairs (IMA) and Petrotrin claimed that tests revealed that thousands of mullet fish that washed ashore along the Coffee, Point Sable and Carat Shed beaches over the last two months, were not poisoned. Jeffrey maintained, however, that there was a major cover-up.
“It (dead dolphin) confirms in my mind what I have always said—that Corexit 9500 is responsible for a lot of fish kill—and I hope they could tell us which trawler drop this one, all the time they saying some trawler offshore dumping fish.
“I am calling on the authorities to let us get an independent investigation not from Trinidad, let the United Nations send out a team to come down and look at the whole thing because I believe the EMA and IMA are contaminated in terms of giving an objective assesment of what is happening on Point Sable beach.” Fishermen who gathered at the beach also called on the agencies to tell the nation the truth.
Henry, treasurer of the La Brea Fisherfolk Association, said there is no truth to allegations that a south-based vessel was dumping dead fish in the sea. “Whatever killing the mullet, killing the dolphin. They tell us by word of mouth that we could go back out to sea and give people fish to eat, but the fish still dying, birds dying.” Pointing to salmon, lynch, bouchet, stone fish and crab, he said all types of marine life were being affected.
Another fisherman Ashram Rampersad called for a meeting with the EMA, Energy Minister Kevin Ramnarine and other stakeholders to address this situation. He said the damage had already been done to the fishing industry and their livelihood because no one was buying fish in the area. Officials of the University of West Indies’ School of Veterinary Medicine were expected to remove the dolphin for testing yesterday.
Meanwhile, results of a necropsy done to determine the death of another dolphin which washed ashore three weeks ago at Vessigny are still outstanding.