MP calls for police post at Caroni swamp
Couva North MP Ramona Ramdial is calling for a police post to be set up in the Caroni Swamp, after repeated reports of poachers hunting wildlife in the Caroni Bird Sanctuary, including the country's national bird, the Scarlet Ibis.
In a stament, Ramdial, who was formerly a minister in the ministry of environment and water resources under the former People's Partnership government, said a police post would allow citizens and tourists to enjoy the ecotourism site in safety.
She said Coast Guard patrols are also needed for the coastline in around the Caroni Swamp on a daily basis to deal with the illegal poachers.
This call comes in light of last week’s incident where an alleged shootout between game wardens and poachers occurred and resulted in a boat crash and persons being injured.
Ramdial said currently, the visitor centre has been closed off to the public on weekends with one tour operator having the keys to the gate.
"Tourists and visitors can only access the visitor centre through booking tours with this particular operator," she said.
"This of course hampers the business operations of other tour operators who may get bookings but are unable to carry out due to present arrangements."
She said she raised this issue a year ago but to date there has been no change.
"Poaching of one of our National birds, the Scarlet Ibis is a serious offence and is punishable by imprisonment and fines. Having the game wardens assisted by Police and Coast Guard will see possible results with a reduction in poaching in and around the Caroni Swamp," she said.