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Oyster vendors protest

By LAUREL V WILLIAMS Tuesday, May 20 2014

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PROTEST: Felicity residents staged a protest yesterday over a Chaguanas Magistrate's decision to order the sale of, via auction, boats and engines bel...
PROTEST: Felicity residents staged a protest yesterday over a Chaguanas Magistrate's decision to order the sale of, via auction, boats and engines bel...

ANGERED over the decision given last Friday by a Chaguanas Magistrate to auction off five boats belonging to oyster venders who were fined for being found in a legally protected area of the Caroni swamp, several vendors yesterday staged a protest at the Lakhan Karriah Cremation site in Cacandee Road, Felicity.

The protesters demanded that the boats together with respective engines should not be auctioned off but returned to its owners. Last Friday, Chaguanas Magistrate Brambhanan Dubay fined six oyster vendors $36,000 for entering a prohibited area namely the Caroni Forest Reserve.

The oyster vendors are all of Felicity. In addition to the fines, the magistrate also ordered that the men’s five boats, seized by the Forestry Division, be sold by way of a public auction.

During the protest yesterday resident Jason Thomas charged that the magistrate’s order for the boats to be sold was unfair and called for authorities to intervene and return the boats to the oyster vendors.

“This is how they make their living. These men are getting up at 5 am so they can put food on the table for their family. They already have to pay a fine so why auction off their only means of a livelihood,” asked Thomas.

“The cost of one engine is at least $30,000 and a boat is about $7,000. These people worked hard to buy their boats and engines,” he added.

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