Save our Mangrove in Trinidad and Tobago

Recently, the Government of Trinidad and Tobago signed an agreement with Essar Steel of India to build a steel mill in the center of a number of communities in the North Claxton Bay area. It has also contracted with Saipem, an Italian firm to build a port next to the steel mill and fishing port in the area. These projects will be ruinous to the economy, health, environment and livelihood of the residents of Claxton Bay and environs, and citizens of the West Coast and Trinidad and Tobago generally. A No Port, No Steel Mill Campaign has been raging on the island over the past two years. Activists have engaged in meetings with leading government officials, protests, rallies, numerous media campaigns, fasting, legal action, national sensitization, the burning of tyres and direct action against surveying and soil testing activities. A number of activists have been arrested.

We the undersigned, are saying "No to the construction of the Essar Steel Mill and its associated port" In Claxton Bay Trinidad and Tobago.

The following are the reasons why the citizens of the  Trinidad and Tobago are  rejecting the plans by the Government to destroy the mangrove at Claxton Bay.

1.Essar would be building on 500 acres of land which was allotted to farmers in the area, then taken back for the steel mill.

2.The steel mill is located contiguous to and upwind of Claxton Bay would thousand of tons of steel dust each year for thirty to fifty years. Over 3,000 persons live contiguous to the planned Essar site.

3.The Government would be giving steep gas concessions to Essar Steel.  

4.The mill would require a port which would be built on 625 acres of fishing grounds in an area where grounds are already severely delimited through industrial activity.

5.The mill would emit 900,000 tons of carbon per year.

6.The port would destroy two miles of a historic mangrove system a valuable source of food and recreation; it is home to a number of species of crabs, fish, mollusks, birds, clams and mammals.

7.The port would destroy a specialized fishery for mullets which feeds in the brackish coastal estuarine waters

8.The port would destroy the mullet saltfish factory located on the nearby fishing port.

9.The port would destroy, through dredge siltation, a vast acreage of seagrass beds; the estuarine foreshore would be continually dredged to a depth of 13 meters to accommodate 200 meter ships, berthing facilities and turnaround bays.

10.The livelihood of over 100 fishermen who now use the fishing facilities would be severely impacted.

The entire project is uneconomic; the value of resource loss will be considerably higher than gains; the fact is that Government has adopted a neo-liberalization agenda, which intends to convert valuable local resources, health, gas, fisheries, mangrove, seagrass beds, fishing grounds, arable lands, valuable port lands, into profits for Saipem, and Essar Steel and its customers in the United States. 

We are now seeking international support. Local and national support seems to be inadequate to stop this destructive agenda. Kindly view the attached photo and sign the online petition. We aim to stop the conversion of our extremely limited and valuable natural resources into a declining paper economy, US dollars - into unprofitable deals and their local facilitators.

Thank you for taking time to read this letter.

Ms. Rhea Mungal
Resource Protection Group

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