Laurel V Williams
A fisherman cried on Monday when he saw the boat he uses to fish was damaged by fire at the Carli Bay fishing facility in Couva.
“Tears came from my eyes. How am I going to feed my family? This is my livelihood. But when one door closes, another opens. It is hurting me,” said the man who did not want his name published in the newspaper.
Two boats, one owned by Naresh Popal and the other by Wayne Ali, were destroyed in what police said was an arson attack.
Newsday spoke to several fishermen who estimated the damage at $300,000.
At least 36 people are affected and now do not have a boat to go out at sea to fish.
“They (boat users) took out the engines and left the boats here on Sunday, thinking no one would interfere with their vessels. Look what happened,” the fisherman said.
He and other fishermen said people in the community know what is going on but are not speaking up.
Couva North MP Ravi Ratiram was at the Carli Bay facility on Tuesday. He told Newsday “rogue elements” set the boats ablaze around 4 am.
The opposition MP recalled a similar attack last year and the attack at sea, which left seven people dead a few years ago.
He called on National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds to establish a coast guard base at the fishing facility and for him to take measures to protect the fishermen and their assets.
He criticised the Government saying members do not care about fishermen and farmers.
Ratiram said Hinds must protect all people on land and at sea.
“If the minister cannot perform his basic function, he should step aside and allow someone competent to get the job done.”