Leader of Government Business and Minister of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries, Sen. the Hon. Clarence Rambharat makes his contribution during debate on the Trinidad and Tobago Revenue Authority Bill, 2021.

The Estate Management Business Development (EMBD) Company has shut down mining operations at Coco Road quarry and is investigating recent damage to homes there.

The information was given by Leader of Senate Business Clarence Rambharat in the Senate yesterday, in reply to UNC Senator Wade Mark’s queries.

Mark had asked about the destruction of homes allegedly as a result of quarrying operations under EMBD supervision.

Rambharat said the events in question were very unfortunate. He said he was contacted by UNC MP David Lee on the matter and was also contacted with a request to engage the Social Development Ministry to assist in the situation. That ministry is now acting on the issue.

Rambharat read out a September 15 letter sent by EMBD chairman S. Ronnie Mohammed to Energy Minister Stuart Young on the issue. EMBD had a mining licence for the Coco Road Bloc since 2018

EMBD’s letter noted that a few members of the fenceline community blocked the bridge leading to the Coco Road Quarry that day, alleging that around 3 am there was significant damage to their houses allegedly caused by the quarry operations at the Coco Road Quarry.

The houses are located approximately 65 metres/213 feet outside the Eastern boundary of the Coco Road Quarry.

EMBD’s letter said the company hadn’t had any reports of damage other than property damage. EMBD personnel visited the area and reported that one house has collapsed and another house appears “to be moving.”

An internal investigating team was immediately assigned to investigate the complaints. A geotechnical expert is assisting investigations in particular, in advising technically on the potential and actual cause(s) of the landslip. Another report will be done.

On alleged disposal of toxic waste by a chemical plant in Barrackpore and the effect on the community, Rambharat said the Environmental Management Authority (EMA) had received the complaint.

He said a site visit was conducted on September 10 and included officers from the Office of the County Medical Office of Health (County Victoria).

“Investigations are continuing with the relevant agencies which will include the Town & Country Planning Division of the Planning Ministry. We expect this process will be concluded within a month,” Rambharat said.