Commentary: Grim about Tobago Oil Spill

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Alicia Chamely
By Alicia Chamely

YOU know, I am trying. I am trying to be patient, to be understanding, to give people a chance… but, Lord lay your hands upon me, because it isn’t happening.

Can anyone explain to me how from a national security standpoint, a huge vessel can slink into our
waters undetected and only be noticed after it tips over and begins spewing an “oil-like substance”? Do we not have patrol vessels in Tobago… especially on its Southeast coast near the island’s capital?

Do we not have any sort of marine radar surveillance? Shouldn’t we have this, considering we have long been a transshipment point for drugs, guns and humans?

How can we believe our government is taking crime seriously, if they do not even have the technology to spot a massive vessel? Cause if they can’t spot that, then there is zero chance in detecting any of the
hundreds of small boats that arrive on our coastlines carrying guns, drugs and trafficked individuals. No chance! Nada! Zilch!

Maybe I am wrong, maybe they do have all these gadgets and gizmos to detect big ships, maybe this one
just slipped through. But I will never know because when it comes to communication our government and their agencies suck.

Due to this, we now have big conspiracy theories floating around. There is the one that it is Venezuelan
oil being illegally bought to Trinidad to bypass US Sanctions. That this also connected to the deaths of LCMS divers, who were doing work on a “supposedly” decommissioned pipeline that was full of oil being sent from Venezuela.

And then we have the Leader of the Tobago House of Assembly Farley Augustine accusing the People’s National Movement’s government of pretending not to know who the owner of the vessel is, because it is some shady big wig with interest in purchasing the former Petrotrin refinery.

Way to shake off your own incompetence there Augustine my boy!

Then we have some clown who created an AI segment of United States President Joe Biden, discussing
the whole T&T and Venezuela oil conspiracy, which then goes on to be shared around by the foil hat committee, despite the entire thing looking fake and not being on any other news outlet.

The disaster has, like all disasters in T&T, turned into a useless political ego battle, with everyone attacking each other, and trying to make themselves look good, all while Rome burns.

In the meantime, Tobago is covered in oil and it’s heading to Grenada. Now Grenada ain’t slow, so they
have long called in for reinforcements from foreign agencies to help them should the oil come their way.

It seems like they have plans for these types of things. Do we have a plan? How long have we been producing oil and we still have no fast acting plans to handle these devastating ecological disasters.

I’ll give jack their jacket, those involved in the clean up having been doing a hell of job with the tools they were given. My issue is, why did it take so long for any decision to be made regarding taking action? Have any steps been taken to protect other areas of Tobago coastline and reefs should the tides pull a fast one and shoot the oil onto the West coast?

And what about the people of Tobago? Residents of Lambeau were severely affected by the fumes of the spill, with many reporting illnesses. What does their leader Augustine say? “Self-relocate,” in other
words you are not my responsibility, I’m still looking for someone to blame, rather than put on my big
boy pants and deal with the situation.

Sir, you and THA should have had a protocol in place to relocate residents. You!
But then again, in T&T we don’t really care about how our environmental disasters affect people. Take for example a few years back when the Beetham dump was on fire. The entire Western Trinidad was covered in toxic smog, and not once did I hear any concern or plans to evacuate the people of Beetham or Laventille. No medical, no masks, nothing.

Anywhere else in the developed world, a government would have evacuated these residents. Then we wonder why our hospitals are always congested with people suffering from asthma and other respiratory illnesses. I could go on and on, because the entire circus around this spill is beyond aggravating.

Do I expect the owner to be found or held accountable? Nope. Because the ocean is like the wild, wild, west and in nations like T&T where laws and regulations are lax, skeevy boat owners get away with any and everything.

Hey, remember the half sunken vessels in the Gulf of Paria everyone was kicking up about a few years back… they are still there. Owners found and nothing down. So, forgive me for being grim, but until those in charge realise they are playing the fool, we will continue to see the destruction of our waters, our environment and our people.

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