ARSON is suspected in a fire which destroyed six carat sheds at the popular Carat Shed beach facilities at La Brea. President of the La Brea Fisherfolk Association, Alvin La Borde, estimated it will cost about $36,000 to restore the sheds.
Since 2009, the association has been responsible for the maintenance of the facility, which is on state-owned lands.
He explained that someone set the sheds on fire at 11.47 pm on Tuesday and 15 minutes later he received news of the incident. Within minutes, the sheds had burnt. All that remained were the metal frames and partially burnt wooden benches.
“We now have to get the people to go to cut the carat leaves, at $5 for one. We have to pay for the labour, transportation, wood for the benches and to paint,” La Borde told Newsday, saying the act was malicious.
The association is calling on corporate TT to assist in restoring the sheds.
The beach is a popular destination for public holidays and gatherings. As of Carnival weekend, it costs $150 to use a shed. Previously it cost $100. “The sheds were already booked for Good Friday. Members of the La Brea Pentecostal Church were coming to relax for a get-together. We took up a community project to lead by example to allow people to come and enjoy themselves whether it is during the week or on a weekend,” La Borde said.
“We are at least trying to see if for the Easter weekend we can put back tarpaulin so at least some people can come and relax.”
Only days ago, fishermen saw what appeared to be four gunshot holes in one of the metal bins at the beach. They believe the holes were a possible sign that someone had a grudge and wanted to send a message.
Nearby residents told Newsday they learnt of the fire when they awoke in the morning, and had no idea what had happened.
Police obtained video footage showing the image of someone setting the sheds on fire shortly before midnight. Up to last evening, they were investigating in the hope of making an arrest. They visited the beach yesterday and spoke to residents, all of whom denied committing the act. Sgt Ramsaran is leading investigations.