The Fishermen and Friends of the Sea (FFOS) said it is encouraged by the recent questions on the fisherfolk’s “regular” gas crisis posed in Parliament by Opposition Senator Wade Mark. The conservation group also said it welcomed the lifeline thrown by Energy and Energy Industries Minister Franklin Khan on the issue.
This was expressed via a statement issued on Wednesday.
The FFOS said the decision is appreciated especially following protest action it took in front of the Parliament on Tuesday.
The group is also condemning the politicizing and displaying of racially divisive cards against the FFOS during the incident.
On December 29th 2018, the FFOS convened a national meeting at the Claxton Bay Fishing facility to consolidate a joint movement of fisherfolk to address the crippling effect of the Government’s decision to abruptly stop the supply of regular gasoline. A total of 23 fishing association leaders attended. A special committee of five was appointed to prepare correspondence to appeal for Government’s intervention and to mobilize fishing communities nationwide. FFOS said it prepared the draft correspondence which was delivered to the Prime Minister in late January on the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Fisherfolk (TTUFF) letterhead.
The FFOS stated as follows:
“1. FFOS supports peaceful, non-violent protests and demonstrations to promote public interest awareness. However, FFOS condemn what appears to be political interference in these independent unaligned protests. FFOS is apolitical and will not participate in politically motivated protest.
2. FFOS condemn falsehoods where politicians are claiming to represent fisherfolk. No politician has ever held widespread meetings with fisherfolk on this crisis.
3. FFOS condemn placards displaying “D 1% Fishermen and Friends of D Sea” which diverges from the critical issue and appears to be a malicious racist attack on our Corporate Secretary who has served fishers and their environment without benefit for over 20 years.
4. FFOS urgently await the outcome of the promised meetings with Government agents and Ministers which have been announced as a result of the TUFF letter.”
The FFOS said it continues to appeal to the Government to protect the voiceless and to hasten these discussions as a matter of national emergency.
“We maintain that there is a “reasonable expectation” that our Government have a “duty of care” to ensure that our member’s livelihoods are protected. There are legal precedents which FFOS prefer to resolve peacefully. Unless the Government acts with extreme urgency, lives and livelihoods will be destroyed.”
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