T&T’s Dangerous Waters

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It seems as if we never have any money for essential things in this country, yet things that are not important, are somehow always paid for.

Medicine and resources for hospitals? Barely.

Million dollar interchange project? Definitely.

Desks, books and furniture for schools? Not really.

Massive cricket stadium that can’t even host an international cricket match? For sure.

And now, there is the dilemma as it pertains to security on the high seas. A few weeks ago, seven fishermen were murdered, beaten and thrown into the sea by assailants that the police believe were locals. Now, fishermen are on edge. Their livelihood is out on the open water, a space that many now fear to venture. Many are on edge and afraid of coming across another boat in the ocean because it could be bringing a threat. And many fishermen now feel that no one can guarantee their safety, or even help them if they do get into trouble.

That’s because they believe those in authority simply will not be able to help.

The recent search for the missing fishermen did see some state involvement, however it has been severely criticized as lacking, given the Coast Guard’s alleged lack of resources. And for years now, NGOs such as Fishermen and Friends of the Sea have been clamouring for additional Coast Guard posts at various points along our coastline. WE are a twin island nation. ISLAND. Yet our maritime security is seriously lacking. There are not enough posts, boats, equipment and general resources for them to do their jobs in a comprehensive manner.

And it remains doubtful if any Government will truly take this issue seriously. When one orders, another cancels, yet doesn’t do much either. And while all that political wrangling continues, our poor fishermen are faced with the tough decision of risking their lives in order to make a living. Most citizens will never know the gravity of having to make such a choice.