PORT OF SPAIN – The mysterious explosions that rocked east Trinidad and frightened many, came from the disposal of ammunition by the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force.
Army personnel thought the series of detonations would be ‘small’ and told some people not be alarmed.
It turned out that the explosions were so massive that they shook tens of thousands of people living as far at 30 kilometres from ground zero – the National Quarries Sand and Gravel Division at Turure in a forested area of east Trinidad.
People reported the sound in Arouca, Picton Road, Valencia, Guaico, Sangre Grande, Malabar, Arima, Cumuto, Sangre Chiquito, Tunapuna and Coal Mine.
People were invited to share their experience on the Trinidad Express Facebook site, and wrote about clothing their babies as roofs and windows rattled. The sound was described as that of thunder and a bomb.
The sound was reported as far away as Chaguanas in central Trinidad.
“Here in Arima sounded like thunder as rain was falling heavily at the time but my windows and doors vibrated” one person wrote.
An official at the Arima Fire Service said there were no reports of property damage or injuries to anyone and that the sounds were “not a threat to people”.
Chairman of the Sangre Grande Regional Corporation Terry Rondon was upset over the lack of notification to the public.
He said: “They should better coordinated with us. People were really sacred and upset over this. Even if they didn’t think it would make such a big explosive noise they needed to inform the people. Especially the people living Turure where it was the closest.”
One person on social media said: “So now they choose to notify the public.”
While another said: “Army !!! Explosives !! They could have sent an awareness to people in the area beforehand.”
Concerns were also raised over animal injury.
Someone commented and said: “Well I’m sure there are also a number of dead animals in the forest, as a result of the explosions!”
Acting Chief Executive Officer of National Quarries, Raymond Hackett confirmed having knowledge of the army operations at the facility.
He said that the explosions occurred at a remote part of National Quarries acreage.
“They (the Defence Force) have an on-going patrol at our acreage at Turure because of the illegal mining activity that is prevalent in that area and from time to time they carry out training exercises and disposal of explosives as well. Yes, it (the explosions) was on our acreage. We have 2,400 acres on that particular site and it goes on at the remote end of the site,” said Hackett.
Captian Cleavon Dillon, the acting Public Affairs Officer with the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force told the Express that the TTDF would investigate the reports.