Wednesday 27th December, 2006

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Simply not the place for smelter

In addition to the earthquake and flood-prone disposition of land throughout Trinidad, the southern peninsula and sea-bed band is a volcanic construction that stretches from Icacos to the Moruga forests, Poole and Piparo.

The area—and, hence, the rest of the island—is at risk in parts and in whole to weaknesses and threats from topography (drainage/weather/erosion), climate (storm/hurricane/tornado), plate tectonics, and seismic activity, aggravating those in the volcanic geology indefinitely.

Physical events can happen randomly, separately, as a result of one another, cumulatively, in rapid succession, in one pervasive convulsion or many small catastrophes, in any combination not-so-drastic and drastic.

In the South, eruption can occur anywhere, eg, rock island off Chatham driven up from under the sea-bed, even right beneath a smelter, or land could just collapse, or both.

The effects in the sub-structure of extracting asphalt, gas and oil over the long-term will only worsen risks and dangers (likelihoods of occurring and consequences).

Changes in site and area geology can take place irrespective of today’s tests’ assurances. Unlike the situation where the smelter is built on a continent, in T&T leaks, disasters and what have you will impact the entire people and land, as well as other countries. It is simply not a place for a smelter.

This is not alarmism, dramatic rendering, irrationality, emotional handicap or cloak-and-dagger imputation. It is not even a position or an opinion. It is reality. It has been ignored in the development of Pointe-a-Pierre and Point Lisas.

As with linking cancer to the smelter, admission has moral, legal and political ramifications and all are being avoided. Instead, the oncology unit has been prioritised while participation is reduced to a controlled debate and an election result, adolescent-appeal style. In other words, the Government has no alternative vision.

Just when a clear choice would win the election, the Opposition splits. It signalled to everyone that if the election went running back to the former Leader of the Opposition, there would be no choice then either.

Meanwhile, illegal security commitments and lock-down arrangements have been made and the country is being handed into “freedom of information,” “ICT” and “sunset” networks, ensuring it a determined place in US economic security/insecurity, no matter who wins. That is a system of protection that is a government unto itself.

So, will they get uranium from asphalt pyrolysis or just research it?

Elias Galy


Chickens could bring bird flu

I see the powers that be have decided to encourage chicken importation, when every other cautious government has imposed restrictions on imported avian products.

So in the rush to get cheaper prices we are willing to jeopardise our health and the local poultry industry by importing chicken with the deadly bird flu virus coming to the Americas next spring.

I am no expert but viruses tend to be fairly hardy things and they can hibernate. Freezing doesn’t kill them. I don’t understand why the Government cannot eliminate the taxes on corn instead and let the birds be grown here.

If there isn’t clear labelling on frozen chicken, for my own and my family’s safety I am going to take to buying fresh chicken. At least then I will know, since they can’t hide birds dying from the news for long.

However, I was wondering if they have actually looked at the proportional cost of packaging for basic products. Apparently the resin used for making all things plastic is in fact imported and not locally produced. So the plastic bottle is about a third of the cost of the soft drink. Can we not revert to glass bottles or introduce refill stations in supermarkets? Would the makers of household cleaners also consider this? Or is it imported pre-bottled?

Also, flood damage seems to be getting worse and poorly maintained drains are a breeding ground for vermin.

How much of what is imported is lost due to spoilage? Maybe if there were grants to improve warehousing facilities, what is imported would be fully utilised.

Remember, no matter how much money you have, you cannot buy a cure that does not exist.

Lystra Kochin

Via e-mail

Why T&T seen as third world

RECENTLY I was asked why is T&T called third world when the country is blessed with tons of oil and gas money etc. I explained as follows:

* We have a Priority Bus Route that is traversed by more maxi-taxi and private vehicles than buses.

* Our public utilities carry out repairs in the public domain and months later traces of their presence can be seen, ie debris and holes in roads not resurfaced.

* We the people throw paper cups, bottles etc out of our cars onto the public roads etc.

* We drive for miles and don’t see a police officer.

* Large trucks, construction vehicles, garbage trucks adding to, if not causing, traffic jams.

* We blame the Government when it floods after heavy rains for nature’s work (90 per cent) and God’s doing.

* We throw old shoes over electrical cables on the main byways.

* Politicians preach and encourage recession on public platforms.

* Our people stroll across the road when a courteous driver gives them a chance to cross, instead of stepping briskly out of the way.

* We park in “No Parking” areas, causing unnecessary traffic pile-ups.

* Citizens do not form proper lines and await their turn to board buses or taxis.

* Citizens blast music out of their cars, disturbing all and sundry.

* Workmen paint roads during peak hours and add to the gridlock.

* We have to go to Parliament to announce we can play Carnival through the streets of Port-of-Spain, although we slaves were given permission years ago to do so.

These are the reasons we are considered third world.

Gary Fitzwilliam

Diego Martin

UNC shown up by COP

MISTAKE after mistake. Will the UNC ever learn? Or is it so caught up in its own implosion to care?

First Panday, found guilty of not declaring a bank account, is reinstated as chairman. Now the no-support position on the bail bill.

To make matters worse, they were shown up by the politically infant COP, who demonstrated political maturity by supporting the bill.

Did the UNC think that the public would appreciate any perceived stance alongside kidnappers in society? Did its leaders think about how their non-support action could be perceived as sending the wrong message to their core supporters, who they claim are under siege and who statistically bear the brunt of kidnappings?

The UNC appears to be doing everything conceivable in its power to remain political untouchables.

Christopher Teemal


Residents vow to stop tower

CITIZENS for a Better T&T (CBTT) is warning that people could take matters into their own hands if cell sites continue to be constructed without proper consultation with affected residents.

Last Saturday, there was a heated exchange between the landowner who leased his property at Pond Street, La Romaine, to a cellular company and demonstrators protesting the construction of a cell tower near their homes.

All this could have been avoided if the Town and Country Planning Division had taken action. Instead it chose to ignore the situation, even though it received a letter from over 100 residents objecting to the tower.

Town and Country should explain to residents why their concerns were ignored.

One demonstrator said they would do all in their power to ensure that work on the cell tower was stopped.

CBTT was there to lend our support to the residents. We were disappointed that no support came from the community council.

We commend those people who came out to lend their support to the affected residents.

Harrack Balramsingh

President, CBTT

La Romaine

No difference in UNC, PNM govts

Yes, Minister Imbert, the people want trains, just as we wanted the UNC government to build us an airport.

Well we got an airport in our rookukutungkung and all those who complained about the simmy-dimmy in the awarding of contracts were described as “sour grapes.”

Now I see you are describing those who telling you “trains yes, corruption no” as being “sour grapes.”

Tell me, what is the difference between your Government and the one that built the airport? Other than race, I can’t tell the difference.

Kurt Seucharan-Fuentes

Via e-mail

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