Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Standoff against POLLUTION and social dislocation

The Smelter controversies in Trinidad gains momentum as today's national newspapers report a stand off between the Police and residents protesting plans for Industrialisation of the south western peninsula of Trinidad the larger of this twin island Republic.

At times the protest appeared helpless as individuals were dragged away by the state police. Among these were a University lecturer and a human rights activist. There were indiscriminate arrests, tears, wailing, candles and the ringing of the tradional handbells. Represented as protesters were all ages from toddlers to pensioners.

The companies with the vested interest have feebly tried to deny the possibility of pollution and social dislocation via adhoc meetings with the residents. While the Government appear reluctant to budge from their stated intent of plans in spite of reservations expressed in may quarters over the vital need dialogue and consultation of those whose lives would really be affected.

The 2005 Yale/Columbia Environmental Sustainability Index (ESI) showed Trinidad and Tobago as having the worst percentage of negative land impacts of 146 countries, yet Trinidad's government is continuing on a path toward massive industrialization of the Southwestern part of this Caribbean Island. Southwest Trinidad has so far been spared from heavy industrialization and is the part of the Island that has the longest and widest stretches of beaches on the Island.


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