Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Chatham residents continue the fight

Residents of Chatham, Cap de Ville and the surrounding communities on
the South Western peninsula of Trinidad kept up their fight against
the proposed Alcoa aluminum smelter plant in the face of armed
security forces that descended on the community in the early hours of
Tuesday morning.
Reports out of Chatham are that two residents have been arrested, along with Burton Sankeralli of the Rights Action Group and UWI lecturer Dr. Peter Vine were among those arrested.
Women are being pushed out of the way to allow workers from Alcoa and
Bechtel to enter Foodcrop Road.
The residents gathered at the camp where they've been keeping a 24
hour vigil since early August, having received word on the weekend
that the Trintoplan, Alcoa and Bechtel workers would be returning to
the community to begin a soil survey in the area.
The residents, formed a human blockade across Foodcrop Road, stopping
police and the workers from accessing the land.
Two weeks ago during protests, a police officer threatened to shoot
the unarmed villagers.
Despite claims from Alcoa that they received permission from
landowners to enter and conduct the tests, the community remains
adamant that no tests will be carried out. They are fearful that any
disturbance of the land will be an open gateway for Alcoa to press
ahead with building the smelter plant.
The villagers are also concerned that a situation similar to what took
place with the Union Industrial Estate where 1000 acres of land were
cleared with clearance from the EMA, exposing villagers respiratory
Two weeks ago, Alcoa hosted a consultation to discuss the Draft Terms
of Reference for their Environmental Impact Assessment at the Chatham
Youth Camp where they were told in no uncertain terms that they were
not wanted in the south-western peninsula.
Fitzroy Beache, President of the Chatham/Cap de Ville Environment
Protection Group has promised that the community will maintain it's
non-violent direct action protest against Alcoa, until they abandon
all plans to build a smelter in Trinidad and Tobago.


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