Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Protest Drama in Chatham

by Radhica Sookraj
Trinidad Guardian
September 13, 2006

Screams echoed in Chatham yesterday when a tractor transporting soil-testing equipment almost crushed a one-year-old child as he lay on the road, huddled in his father’s arms.
Baby Omar Mohammed burst into tears when his father Abdullah Mohammed fell in front of a tractor during a mad rush to stop Trintoplan officials from entering the proposed site of Alcoa’s aluminium smelter plant.
Four protesters, among then UWI lecturer Prof Peter Vine were arrested by police.
The Trintoplan workers had gone to Chatham with a heavy police presence to begin soil testing but were met with a human barricade.
More than 80 residents, mainly women and children, stood on the road.
President of the Chatham/Cap-de-ville Environmental Protection Group Fitzroy Beache claimed that Alcoa had no permission from the Environmental Management Authority to do any soil testing at the site.
Resident Yvonne Ashby paced up and down the street chanting prayers while another resident Muriel Amoroso threw olive oil on the street.
She lit candles and held hands with residents.
Sources said instructions were given to have the roads cleared for the Trintoplan workers.
But some residents resisted by standing in front of the tractor.
A woman, Ann James, lay stretched on the roadway as if she had fainted before she was taken away by a policewoman.
Other residents began weeping. Some chanted, “Stop this Smelter,” as the Trintoplan workers advanced.
Professor Vine, a lecturer of science, medicine and technology at UWI, and Burton Sankerali, secretary of the T&T Right Action Group, were seen in front of the tractor.
Alcoa officials Randy Overby and Wade Hughes could not be reached for comment as they are out of the country.
But corporate communications manager for the Environmental Management Authority Alicia Charles said an investigating team comprising of three investigators were dispatched to oversee testing being done on the site.
She said the geo-testing and borehole testing, now being conducted by Trintoplan, did not require a Certificate of Environmental Clearance.


Blogger Professor Zero said...

Good God. Thank you for keeping us up to date.

11:29 PM  

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