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Tempers cool in oil leak town

Residents, Petrotrin agree to work together
Friday, August 8, 2014
Vaughn Mc Donald, a resident affected by last Tuesday's oil leak at Marabella, shows oil he retrieved from the Guaracara River, Pointe-a-Pierre, during a tour of the affected area by Petrotrin officials on Wednesday. PHOTO: KRISTIAN DE SILVA

Tensions between Marabella residents and Petrotrin seemed to simmer down yesterday after both groups met and agreed to work together. The calm came after residents had a heated confrontation with Pointe-a-Pierre MP Errol Mc Leod, a ministerial team and Petrotrin officials on Wednesday during a tour of the oil leak area of Silk Cotton Road, Marabella. Residents vented their frustration and knocked Mc Leod, their member of Parliament, for his delay in visiting them after last week Tuesday’s leak at the Pointe-a-Pierre refinery. 

Yesterday Petrotrin, in a release, said the agreement was reached after a “cordial” two-hour meeting at the Petrotrin Learning Centre, Pointe-a-Pierre, between a five-member delegation from the residents and company officials. The company said: “A number of issues were discussed. These included the affected residents’ health and safety concerns, evacuation procedures, compensation and employment among other issues. 

“Our team provided the committee with a status update on clean-up and recovery efforts and both groups agreed that significant progress has been made.” Another meeting, Petrotrin said, had been scheduled in the coming week to address some of the medical concerns raised by the group and there would be other follow-up meetings. Another resident, who did not want his name used, said residents got good news coming out of the meeting.

“They are dealing with our medical concerns in a more serious manner. They said they will be providing medical assistance. They will be doing checkups on everybody and as time go, if anyone feeling sick, they can go free of charge to Augustus Long Hospital. “They said they will come and do testing after the clean-up is over too. They bringing detergents for to wash the curtains, sheets and clothes to get rid of the smell. They have advised us to change our water,” he added.

The resident said Petrotrin had agreed to provide employment to the residents and some applications already were being processed. “Everybody cannot get in the same time but they said they will be doing batches. They have to do processing. We have to do drug tests and thing too. Everything will take a little time. “But we are feeling more assured. People just watching to see what going and how serious they will be with their part of the bargain,” the resident added. 

He said the conditions at Silk Cotton and Mango Alley, Marabella, were improving. “The air was not so bad today. We still getting small thing in the air, but the river start to get clearer. People now start to catch back themselves. Some of them still have little headaches, but it getting back to normal slowly but surely.”

Corey Greene, of Bayshore, Marabella, who lives on the south side of the Guaracara River, also said the air was improving but yesterday he was making preparations, along with his six-month-pregnant wife, Liselle David, to be evacuated to a guest house. Yesterday Movement for Social Justice (MSJ) leader David Abdulah expressed solidarity with the residents.


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