Chief Secretary contender for the Progressive Democratic Patriots (PDP), Farley Augustine has promised Parlatuvier fishermen a Tobago-run system to assist them during attacks on the sea.
Farley made the promise yesterday during the PDP’s “On D’ Road” series in Parlatuvier, even as his political opponent, Tobago House of Assembly (THA) chief secretary Ancil Dennis, was in Trinidad for the launch of two new Coast Guard vessels.
Augustine said he was tired of hearing stories from fishermen who got into trouble while plying their trade and could not get assistance from the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard (TTCG.)
“We will develop our own response system that will include you the fishermen and it has to start with the THA assisting you in getting satellite phones and flares and GPS locators so that you can be safe at sea,” Augustine promised. He said if the PDP wins the December 6 THA election, this issue will be on the front burner.
He said a PDP-led THA would also partner with fuel stations on the island so fuel could be provided to fishermen in cases of emergency, so they could rescue their colleagues.
“So that anytime there is an emergency and Coast Guard playing the fool as they accustom playing, you could have access to fuel and the fisherfolk could come together and come to your rescue because we can’t sit by and wait on Rowley and them in Trinidad,” he said.
Augustine slammed the Coast Guard, saying fishermen often recount stories of meeting vessels from Venezuela and other Caribbean islands in Tobago waters.
“That’s why we have to start to do something for ourselves,” he said.
Telling those gathered that he was a ‘country boy’ like them, Augustine said he knows what it feels like to be forgotten and neglected.
“I am saying a THA run by a country boy just like you, will make you a priority and help fix these simple issues you have been begging for a long time.”
He promised to construct a fishing depot for Parlatuvier, saying the village catches the most fish on the island. He said over five years ago, a platform was constructed to hold the depot but since then, nothing has been done.
He also promised to construct a jetty in Parlatuvier and put a gas station on the jetty, so fishermen can have easy access to fuel.
Augustine said fishermen were often forced to visit gas stations on the island with dozens of bottles and containers to get enough gas for their vessels.
“If we have a fuel pump on your jetty, it means that the illegal practice of having to drive for miles and full up your tank, and fill up every bottle and container you can and then transporting it back to Parlatuvier will come to an end and we will be able to supply to Parlatuvier easier access to the fuel they need.”
Augustine also promised that if the PDP wins the election, he would construct a sporting facility and playing field for the youths of the community.