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Houses, $$ for La Brea residents, fishermen

By Clint Chan Tack Tuesday, December 31 2013

TEMPORARY housing will be provided for La Brea residents affected by recent oil spills in the area. The residents will continue to receive medical treatment, meals and temporary jobs. Fishermen will receive full compensation for the damage they suffered as a result of the spills.

Acting Prime Minister Errol McLeod made these announcements at a news conference at the Office of the Prime Minister, St Clair, during a break in a National Security Council (NSC) meeting about the spills and relief efforts to St Vincent and St Lucia.

McLeod said while the “cause or causes” of the spills remain unknown, no one can guarantee the prevention of future spills.

“We can’t guarantee that somebody with some crazy idea or intent will not, after we have cleaned-up this thing, effect some spill again,” McLeod said.

He added, “With all of the best efforts that we will have by the police and the military and so on, none of us can guarantee that some crazy man, some affected individual will not commit another murder tomorrow. We couldn’t guarantee that.”

Expressing confidence that “an end to the La Brea oil spill is in sight,” McLeod said, “Our most important concern at this point is our people, their safety and well being and the state of our environment in the short and long term.” McLeod said 41 households have been affected. “The inter-ministerial team is accessing urgent housing needs and will recommend to the Ministry of Housing, any families for temporary housing facilities,” he said.

Asked how many of these persons would receive temporary accommodation and when this would happen, McLeod replied, “The number that we have is still being corroborated. I could not say that they are going to be resettled tomorrow or the next day, but we are working assiduously towards dealing with this as effectively as possible.”

Housing Minister Dr Roodal Moonilal later confirmed temporary housing will be given to affected residents based on the recommendations of the inter-ministerial committee.

McLeod said residents continue to receive medical attention and a medical counselling centre has been established at the La Brea Community Centre.

“Two persons have been treated for respiratory conditions and are doing well,” he stated. McLeod promised “full and final compensation for fisher folk from Granville to Fullerton” and “interim compensation to La Brea.” McLeod later told Newsday no final figure has been determined with regards to any compensation package. “That is still being worked on,” he said.

He said 100 meals will be served three times daily to 20 households at Coffee Beach and temporary employment will be provided for residents in oil spill affected areas.

McLeod said the investigation by a special technical committee “ is going to help us establish whether there is connectivity” between the 11 oil spills. He said any person wishing to sue Government, Petrotrin or any State agency regarding the oil spills have “a right to pursue that.”

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