During mid December, 2013 the community of La Brea, nestled in the Oil Belt of the South side of the island of Trinidad and Tobago, experienced the effects of an oil spill. Oil washed upon the shores of at least three (3) of its beaches including Queens Beach, affectionately called the Coffee. The source of the spill is reported to be the State Owned Company, Petrotrin.
Imagefingerprint, decided to visit the area and thanks to Comrade Cecil Nurse, who provided transportation, the trip was possible. Comrade Nurse, who was also an excellent tour guide, is seen in one of the photographs with my mom who also made the trip. We found that, three (3) weeks after the spill the residents have not been relocated and are still living in and breathing toxic fumes. The high tides bring with them, dead sea creatures and the accompanying stench. One resident said she is diabetic and because of the sometimes late meals provided by the company and the inappropriate diet for her condition, she has experienced hell. The residents were advised not to use stoves or light any fires because of the gas in the atmosphere.
Another resident said his eyes were constantly burning and he has developed a cough which was evident. The power washing of the beach particularly on windy days, makes the situation worse he said, while pointing to the exterior of his home which was covered in particles of oil. While some fishermen have been compensated, as their lively hoods have come to zero, many more residents affected economically have no assurance that they will receive compensation.