Indarsingh repeats call for PPE for firefighters

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Rudranath Indarsingh –

Opposition MP for Couva South Rudranath Indarsingh is calling on the Government and the Ministry of National Security to make changes to the Fire Services and get personal protective equipment (PPE) for officers.

He spoke at a UNC media briefing on Sunday.

Addressing a number of issues, chiefly crime, he said citizens were traumatised by crime and there was fear and agony.

In a addition to the number of crimes citizens already faced, they were now dealing with arson and firebombing.

These have been documented by the media, Indarsingh said, holding up all three daily newspapers bearing headlines about firebombing.

He also referenced to one of the most recent incidents, at HSM Motors. The attack took place on April 4.

Not only were citizens dealing with those, but he said he was made personally aware of extortion when three business people visited his constituency office.

He said business people were being sent photographs of their homes, spouses, children and places of school, vehicles etc.

“It is a known fact that extortion is part of the business landscape of Couva/Point Lisas and, by extension, I could say the whole of TT,” Indarsingh said.

The three business people came on separate days to his constituency office and said they were fearful as they had received phone calls saying if they did not pay the requested sum they would not be allowed to do business.

He added that the people said they were also afraid of going to the Couva and Freeport police stations, because they believed that after leaving the police stations, criminals would be aware of their reports.

Indarsingh said the mental health and stability of all law-abiding citizens were destroyed because of the “ineffectiveness” of the Prime Minister as the head of the National Security Council and Minister of National Security Fitzgerald Hinds.

He repeated the call for changes to be made in the Fire Services.

Also at Sunday’s briefing, Pointe-a-Pierre MP David Lee questioned why three vessels could not dry dock at Caribbean Dockyard and Engineering Services Ltd (Caridoc) instead of the floating dry-dock vessel MV White Marlin.

Showing a picture of the MV White Marlin, he said it was owned by a Dutch company. He said millions of dollars were spent on the vessel coming into TT’s waters.

Lee said a reporter had asked Works and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan on January 23 about the vessel being in TT’s waters and was told it would be here for a month at a cost of US$2.5 million.

He said the floating dry-dock vessel was brought in to do work on APT James, Buccoo Reef and TT Spirit ferries.

Work on the last ferry was only completed last week, Lee said. He said the MV White Marlin had been in TT from January 21 until April 5, more than 70 days.

The Opposition said it had done the math,s and estimated that it cost close to US$5 million simply to have the vessel in the country and that did not include the cost of repairs to the ferries.

He said he wanted the Government and the Port Authority to share the total cost of having the floating dry dock in TT’s waters.

Lee said the Opposition also wanted to know which TT agent was paid on behalf of the vessel’s owners.

The Government bought Caridoc from Clico’s assets – a dry-dock facility which was capable of storing larger vessels for repair. In response to opposition questions last year, Lee said the Prime Minister said TT would save money through Caridoc.

Lee said the Opposition wanted to know why Caridoc was not used to dry-dock the three vessels.