Hours after an explosion at NiQuan’s GTL plant at the Pointe-a-Pierre compound yesterday, residents staged a protest calling for a thorough investigation and safety inspection before the resumption of operations.
Still traumatized by the thunderous explosion, a group of residents held a brief demonstration, chanting, “We want safety,” in front of the gate leading to the plant around 4 pm.
Brian Hamlet of Battoo Avenue, Marabella complained that for too long people have been traumatised and scared by incidents that occur at the compound.
Claiming that they also feel unsafe with the newly opened GTL plant, he said, “We want a proper investigation from the OSH, from the EMA and the Ministry of Energy.”
Hamlet noted that while the company received the required clearance as the plant was officially opened by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, he said Marabella residents want proper checks of the company’s plant and its operations before work resumes.
“This is a bomb. Marabella people have been suffering for the longest time in Marabella. Is fire, is bomb, is oil. Children traumatized this morning with this bomb, people glass break. Children can’t go and sleep again, they traumatized. Dog running, people glass shattering,” he said.
Hamlet said company officials must hold a meeting with the residents.
“All we asking for is somebody in higher authority to come and tell us what is going on,” he added. Hamlet said residents should also be compensated for their windows and windscreens which he claimed were shattered during the incident. He noted that when incidents occurred with Petrotrin, officials made sure they were taken care of, in terms of food and safety checks.
“We get everything we wanted, people get employment.” He also complained that no residents were employed by NiQuan.
Sean Mootoo, of Andre Avenue, Marabella, said they do not feel safe.
“These kind of incidents have to stop. As Marabella residents we want to know about the safety procedures inside of there. A full investigation before that start back up.”
Mootoo said residents, including children, are traumatised.
“People scared boy, children crying…All we hear is a boom and we ent hear nothing else from nobody and police locking down the place and we ent know what happening.”
In a release, NiQuan Energies Trinidad Ltd assured it was doing everything necessary to ensure that there is no repeat of yesterday’s incident.