What does the Essar Steel Corporation of India want in Trinidad and Tobago?
rhea.mungal | September 17, 2008 at 04:03 pmby
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It wants the cheap rental of high-value port lands, over five hundred acres, which was only three years ago allotted to former Caroni workers for farming (this land was taken back and rented to Essar).
It wants the Environmental Management Authority to further overlook the fact that a steel mill - which will produce thousands of tons of particulates (steel dust), carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide, nitrous oxide and one billion cubic meters of carbon dioxide, over a thirty to fifty year period - will impair the health of residents in Claxton Bay and six surrounding villages.
It wants cheap and reliable supplies of our scarce water, a commodity which is fast becoming rare on the world market.
It wants trillions of cubic feet of our depleting gas to power its gas-guzzling steel mill.
It wants us to run gas lines for them, which we are doing.
It wants a reliable and cheap supply of electricity from our power grid to run its mill complex.
It wants a “corridor” through our mangroves to a port which will destroy portions of the last stretch of mangrove on the West Coast, which has supplied thousands of tons of protein stocks - crabs, fish, oyster, mook, shrimp, crayfish and conch - to our subsistence economy.
It wants a port, so that it can ship steel coils and sheets to the United States and import iron ore from Latin America, an enterprise which will earn it billions of US dollars.
It wants, and has, 100% ownership of this local branch of Essar Steel of India.
It wants control of how many tons of steel it will grant to the local market, and has, because there is nothing in the agreement which commits them to a specific supply to the local business community.
It wants hundreds of thousands of tons of aggregate, which we will have to mine from the Northern Range, thereby compromising our forests, water and soil systems.
It wants cement to build its plant, which will raise the price of locally produced cement.
It wants its handful of associates in the local oil and gas sector, and on benches of Parliament, to remain intact, in order to mask, authorize and justify its commercial agenda.
It wants as little public disturbance as possible to hide the raw atrocity of this deal for Trinidad and Tobago, a deal which will compromise our economy, our health, our lands, our mangrove and our marine resources and communities.
It wants its Indian High Commissioner to Trinidad and Tobago to bat for them; as this gentleman recently did in his recent India Republic Day address, saluting the Essar deal as an example of co-operation between two independent Republics.
It wants our own locally grown oil and gas mogul to stay on his local throne so he can better line them up.
It wants to move out of the Indian sub-continent to exploit our land and gas on this side of the Hemisphere, so it will be able to advantageously exploit the US market.
Essar wants these terms and conditions and much more.
India is looking to expand economically and to dominate politically in her Austral-Asian spheres of influence. She wants her cushion on the imperial throne.
But Essar Steel of India, our local moghul, the Indian Government and the Indian High Commissioner will not get what they want in Trinidad and Tobago. In sum, they want to funnel our scarce resources into their imperializing coffers to impoverish us and make them dominant. They want to pull off another round of imperialism on us. In Trinidad, they will not get what they want, because they shall be de-constructed in Claxton Bay.
And the Indian High Commissioner should know better. This is not a cricket between India and Australia (the other challenger to the imperial cushions of Austral-Asia). This is the life and destiny of a small nation. As a guest of the peoples, lands and communities of Trinidad and Tobago, he must know that he must respect the fundamental rights of our peoples and communities to life, health, and the safe and self-rewarding use of our resources. Go back and read your Gandhi manual. Imperialism by any face, West or East, is still imperialism.
(used with his consent)
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