Weeks after brothers Junior, 13, and Jason Soogrim, 7 drowned in this pond, the illegal quarry in Valencia remains an open invitation to danger and death. The clear aquamarine water is a tempting deception that masks the uneven underwater craters left by excavators. In a recent visit to the quarry Cari-Bois found a family and community in raw pain unable to understand the loss of the two children. For years, the Valencia Community Council headed by Eron Melville has been lobbying the regulatory authorities for greater protection of the community and the environment from illegal and unscrupulous quarrying.
Off the Valencia Main Road, the landscape is a huge scar of quarries with little evidence of pits being rehabilitated. The Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries is responsible for regulating the quarry industry. However, for reasons that neither the Minister nor the Director of Mines has been willing to explain, roughly 95 percent of the quarries operating in Trinidad and Tobago are not licensed and therefore pay no royalties for the public resources extracted from the land.