The Downtown Owners and Merchants Association is asking the Ministry of Energy to prohibit the delivery of Liquefied Petroleum Gasoline to businesses in downtown Port-of-Spain, once it's being done by tankers.
DOMA's request comes after the February 4th explosion and fire at the Kleen Rite Laundry on Mucurapo Road.
The association raises questions about the safety of businesses and citizens in the city, in light of that explosion and a previous one in Maraval last year.
The following is DOMA's statement:
"Following a second catastrophic event on February 4th involving a tanker supply truck of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) at Kleenrite Laundry we feel obligated to raise, on behalf of our association, our substantial anxiety regarding the delivery and supply of tanker LPG to the downtown city center.
In both of the tragic cases the explosions occurred with the LPG truck parked in open space which is not a scenario that occurs within the downtown city limits. Indeed, our densely populated daytime environment will probably guarantee a much higher outcome in injuries and casualties not to mention greater destruction of property and the loss of a higher number of jobs.
We do not want to be counted among those citizens who now make the assumption that "nothing will ever change" and that "we just have to hope for the best". We see no reason why we should not actively insist on a greater effort to protect lives and property and frankly, we do not find any comfort or assurance, to this point, in the comments and actions of the relevant authorities.
Even a casual observer of the two horrific explosions, which both occurred during delivery of tanker LPG, must surely be able to make some basic assumptions about the dangers associated with tanker LPG supply and the connection between the two events. Furthermore, the fact that the two deliveries were being conducted by the same tank operator and truck seems to justify the view that following the last incident nothing was done to mitigate against a second identical event. We therefore now feel entitled to urgently ask, what is being done to prevent a third identical event?
Until such time as a report can explicitly ascertain why these two explosions occurred and assurances can be given that proper safety procedures are in place, that trucks are manned with trained and tested personnel, that tanker hoses and equipment are inspected and certified, that loss-of-pressure safety valves are activated and that there are enough persons on board each tanker, we are asking the Energy Ministry and the Port-of-Spain City Council to prohibit access of tanker LPG to downtown Port-of-Spain and to convert any bulk tank LPG users within downtown city limits to 100 lb LPG tanks. Furthermore, after remedial safety measures are mandated we are asking that Tanker LPG supply to the city centre be restricted to after 6pm to reduce the danger to the public of another incident.
We further wish to suggest to the Director of highways and the Chief Traffic Engineer of the Ministry of works and to the attorney general’s office that legislation be drafted to govern the transportation of hazardous liquids and toxic cargo to make such transport safer than it now is. We envisage separate, lower speed limits and a more rigorous testing of equipment and drivers for all such types of dangerous cargo.
The loss of multiple businesses and jobs, the destruction of buildings and property and the injuries suffered by so many innocent bystanders are in our mind as we forcefully make these requests. We wish to remind the authorities that in the first incident involving a tanker LPG explosion Mr. John Soo Ping Chow, an innocent bystander, lost his life and some others are still suffering from their injuries.
This second incident carries with it a grave affront to those who suffered in the first event and is an indictment against our second rate standards of accountability that demands that we act now to prevent more death and destruction."
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