Prime Minister Keith Rowley hosted a media conference to provide an update on the response to the oil spill in Tobago. He also headed a Ministerial team to tour the disaster areas in Tobago impacted by the oil spill on Sunday.
During the media conference, he expressed his commitment to tackle the situation as this occurred as a national emergency. The oil spill project will be taken as an extraordinary expense.
“Whatever is required to do what needs to be done would not have been budgeted for the THA. This is a national emergency, and therefore, it will have to be funded as an extraordinary expense… You’ve got to find the money and prioritise. This is a priority because we have to respond, and we don’t know the full scope and scale of what is going to be required”, added PM Rowley during a media conference.
It is to be noted that PM Rowley was accompanied by the Chief Secretary of the Tobago House of Assemble – Farley Augustine; Minister of Works and Transport, Senator- Rohan; Minister of Energy and Energy Industries; and Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister – Stuart Young and officials from the Tobago Emergency Management Agency.
Additionally, a mentioned vessel in Tobago, leaking oil in the waters, has been identified by the divers named Gulfstream, and it is believed to be an Oil Products Tanker. The authorities are working to get rid of the situation, and efforts are being made to contain the spread of the oil.
However, they were unable to contain the spill after the booms were set up across the leaking vessel. Due to the oil leaking, oil has been spread hundreds of metres from the site of the incident, roughly measured to 200 metres South of the Cove at Canoe Bay.
Augustine of Kaizen Environment Services added, “I am advised that we have some specialist divers on their way to Tobago. However, it will be relatively dark by the time they get here with their vessel. So, we had to go ahead and utilise experienced and PADI-certified divers from Tobago to begin some of the discovery for us. Because time is of the essence.”
The Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries is responsible for the National Oil Spill Contingency Plan and began the project of cleaning the spill in collaboration with TEMA.
The people across the region lauded the efforts of PM Rowley as they visited the areas spread by the oil spill through their comments on social media.
While reacting to the news, a person named James Alexander commented, “The PM was told to mind his business but here he’s still minding the business of Trinidad and Tobago, wow, what a leader, keep being an example of all the detractors, thank you sir, t&t is truly a real place, I love t&t, always.”
Another FB user, Ann Mc Carthy, wrote, “So glad to know our PM, Dr Rowley, is also a geologist with a great understanding of the perils of energy sector pollutants to our ecosystem and environment to effectively have clean done ASAP. Hope government can trace origin of the vessel to be able to litigate to recover expenses for clean up operations.”