QUESTIONS THE STATE’S RESPONSE TO THIS CRISIS
By Staff reporter
February 26th, 2022. Today, the country joins hands and hearts with the families of Kazim Ali Jr, Fyzal Kurban, Yusuf Henry and Rishi Nagassar, four of the five underwater welders still submerged as a result of yesterday’s harrowing pipeline incident. While we are all grateful that the fifth underwater welder, Christopher Boodram, returned to the surface and escaped further hurt, we continue to remain hopeful that the rest of these underwater workers will also soon be returned to safety. This incident prompts many questions about whether the necessary safety protocols were correctly enforced. It also prompts an examination of the responsiveness of the State to accidents involving workers. The Minister of Energy Stuart Young issued a statement almost an entire twenty-four hours after the ordeal was first reported. The Minister of Labour, Stephen Mc Clashie, is most absent despite the critical dimension of this incident and its implications for the trapped workers. To this point, there has been no word from Mr. Newman George, the Chairman of Paria Fuel, in response to these workers’ emergency. The Occupational Health and Safety Agency (OSHA) is yet to be seen offering comments or a guide on what protocols should have been followed and how the State ought to respond in a crisis of this nature. There is no indication as to whether the Coast Guard or the TTPS Marine Unit as the frontline marine security units have been mobilized to assist in rescue efforts. The utterly distraught families of the four underwater divers are being feebly informed regarding emerging developments, and barely comforted by the company. We in the Opposition have been in touch with some of the families of the trapped underwater divers, and we are resolved to lend whatever support we can to ensure that these trapped divers are returned to safety. Our hearts and prayers are lifted for the divers, their families and those involved in rescue efforts at this time.
MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT FOR COUVA SOUTH AND SHADOW RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE MINISTRY OF LABOUR and TOBAGO AFFAIRS