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posted 9 May 2016, 20:54 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 9 May 2016, 20:54 ]
Environmental activists are once again raising the issue of seismic survey activity, this time as it relates to deep water drilling. They are calling for parliamentary scrutiny and review of the last government’s initiatives to encourage “virgin” deep water drilling and its related seismic activity in T&T waters.

Calling for public “accountability and transparency” one activist argued that while civic groups like Fishermen and Fiends of the Sea have made attempts though the local courts true understanding of and sensitivity to environmental concerns are lacking within the judiciary.

This activity has the potential to pose an environmental threat of the likes of the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico – USA. For T&T, where environmental vigilance and protection is sadly lacking and where energy sector giants can easily seduce governments to accede to requests without due diligence of proper international standards...well one could just imagine!

One activist called upon the government to place an immediate moratorium on this activity due to commence shortly with BHP Billiton
(an Australian company) leading the attack until proper and full Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) are done and the tax-free ince
ntives be reviewed critically given that T&T is now facing an economic downturn due to low global energy sector prices. 

This EIA marine review is much needed to protect our vulnerable island states & Caribbean seas in whose waters marine life (from fishing in Mayaro to the leatherback turtles in Toco all form part of not just T&T’s eco-tourism but the region.

Another activist wondered how could any so called responsible Government allow 100% tax free incentives to global profiteering energy giants while suffering its own population through increased taxation and losses of regular jobs in the same energy sector. BHP and its global and local partners should now be taxed fully (at least at the old rate for these activities!!)

BHP supports no indigenous cultural activities such as steel bands in schools and youth clubs that can provide creative job opportunities

One activist referred to the Sydney Morning Herald December 14 2013 an article by Peter Ker entitled Optimism flows as BHP eyes Caribbean waters, in which BHP and Range Resources executives waxed gleeful at the People’s Partnership’s extending of over-generous incentives and accelerated tax write offs for exploration.

Even with this accelerated drilling activity, one activist complained that there was no disaster contingency fund set up for potential Gulf of Mexico-type disaster in the Caribbean and pointed to the negative impacts on marine eco & economic activity of poor rural communities so affected!

It reeks of another Atlantic LNG, said the activist, where Citizens of T&T were hoodwinked by the then-government and energy sector into believing it was beneficial when between tax breaks and true ownership T&T citizens get very little on returns so that rural towns and villages like La Brea, Point Fortin, Cedros, Mayaro. Rio Claro all still lack proper health care facilities, properly maintained road infrastructure etc. yet these are in the centre of the oil belt!!