CUMUTO/Manzanilla MP Christine Newallo-Hosein is calling on Tourism Minister Randal Mitchell to train residents who live close to where tourist attractions are located, in first aid so they can be effective first responders if and whenever a mishap at the tourist site occurs.
This comes after six villagers in Tamana went to the rescue of German biologist Ulrike Frenking after she fell into the Mt Tamana bat cave earlier this year.
Frenking was due to leave on Carnival Tuesday. She and her husband Herbert were visiting their son Tobias in Trinidad and were part of a small hiking group which visited the cave when she fell.
It was due to the quick thinking of the six villagers, most in their early 20s, that Frenking was lifted to safety from a depth of about 25 feet. She suffered a broken leg and damage to her shoulder along with numerous cuts and bruises.
“I have been asking Tourism Minister Randall Mitchell to come into the area and look at what we have simply because we are on the international map because of National Geographic. I have heard him saying ‘yes, yes yes, we’ll come’, but nothing has happened,” Newallo-Hosein said.
Newallo-Hosein was speaking with Newsday last Thursday after she met with Tobias and the rescuers. “I do believe that villagers in communities are always the first responders, particularly in such distress situation as this. I was in New York recently and met with an international agency which assists with voluntary work in disaster preparedness.
“I am having further discussions with them to invite them to Trinidad to begin to look at my community, my constituency as a pilot project in TT. I don’t want to say who they are just yet,” the MP said.
She said the six men live in close proximity to where the bat cave is. She said because of the time the ambulance and police arrived at the scene, Frenking could have sustained even more major injuries than she had.
“We thank God for the residents who are here, that they are quick thinkers who were able to use makeshift equipment to bring the woman up and out of the cave. They did a marvellous job and I am glad they are being highlighted. It just brings home the point. I have been trying to reach the ODPM (Office for Disaster Preparedness and Management) for the longest while.
The MP said she would be recommending the six for national awards.