Fishermen from King’s Wharf are calling on the Ministry of National Security to explain why ships are continuing to dock in San Fernando without proper COVID-19 protocols being followed.
President of the San Fernando Fishing Cooperative Salim Gool said the wharf was not an official dock and should not be used as a trading area.
He said when foreign traders arrive at the wharf, they leave the port and walk around, breaching COVID protocols and public health regulations.
“There is no one monitoring them or making sure that any COVID-19 protocols are being followed,” Gool said.
He said last Friday, a Guyanese ship named Maria Eugenia Giuad Guayana docked at the wharf and workers spent hours offloading lumber at the site.
He said Venezuelan boats also visit the wharf bringing produce and other goods.
“Gradually, they will push the fishermen out of the port and make here a shipping port. We are seeing these Venezuelan ships getting exemptions to come in.
“Who is granting these exemptions when the border is closed?” Gool said.
He added, “Venezuelan and other foreign workers are disembarking from the ships and walking on the shore. There are no COVID protocols here. There are no COVID laws here. They are not going into quarantine. They could do what they want and there is no regulation,” Gool said.
He added, “The bandits also could do what they want here. Millions spent on security but who protects fishermen? Everyone is getting an exemption to come in here and the borders are supposed to be locked and COVID spreading.”
Two weeks ago, Opposition Senator Damian Lyder also raised concerns about Venezuelan ships docking at San Fernando and Chaguaramas without proper COVID-19 protocols being followed. He said even as the Brazilian variant is continuing to kill people, Venezuelan vessels are continuing to dock unregulated. Lyder questioned whether shipping companies were submitting documents to immigration.
“Are exemptions granted to vessels coming in from Venezuela?
“Are the Venezuelan nationals who are coming in, are they all crew members, or if not, are visas being issued?” Lyder asked.
He noted that there is often no immigration, quarantine or health officials to enforce COVID procedures.
Questions were sent to Minister of Agriculture Land and Fisheries Clarence Rambharat on the fishermen’s concerns but up to press time there was no response.