Brittons Hill Barbados – Apartment Building Collapse Into Known Cave – Family Of 5 Trapped – US Miami Dade Rescue Team Goes To Work





(Special Thanks to BFP Reader O for the above on scene photos – taken Sunday August 26, 2007 13:30hours Barbados Time)


INTERNET RADIO FOR OUR INTERNATIONAL READERS… Voice Of Barbados 92.9fm (Windows Media Player needed)

Monday, August 27, 2007 – 8am – Voice Of Barbados Update

For continuing coverage at Barbados Free Press, see our latest article…

Barbados Apartment Collapse – Day 2 Under The Rubble – “No Sign Of Life” After USA Dog Team Exam

Monday, August 27, 2007 – 12:40am – Voice Of Barbados Update

– Nothing that we haven’t heard before.

– Many of the original workers have been on scene since early Sunday morning.

– Barbados Advocate article Stress Runs High On Disaster Site provides details of early contact with one of the victims shortly after the collapse. Also info that rumblings preceded the collapse by some time.

First Response Barbados Rescuers Took FIVE HOURS To Arrive

BFP Article: Barbados Apartment Collapse – First Response Of Barbados Rescue Team Took 5 Hours! (Newspaper Report)

Barbados Advocate: Rescuers Get Moving At 10:30am

11:37pm Barbados Time – Voice Of Barbados Report

– Brief interview with Barbados Rescue Coordinator Doctor Brian Charles

– Miami-Dade Rescue Team has determined there is a need to further stabilize the building or “a” building. There will be consultations with structural engineers. Expect an update in an hour or so. Very short interview. No mention of “sounds” or “movement”, but the radio announcer very definitely stated this earlier so perhaps it was a misunderstanding on her part when she spoke off-air to the reporter at the scene.

11:03pm Barbados Time – Voice Of Barbados Report

Voice of Barbados just reported that authorities are reporting possible MOVEMENT in “one building”.

US Rescue team arrived at Cave-In Scene at 10:46pm. They have been briefed and are starting to work.

NOTE: Upon second listening to recording of radio broadcast, announcer said “movement” not “sounds” – ambiguous. MEDIA CONFERENCE EXPECTED MOMENTARILY

9:30pm Barbados Time – Voice Of Barbados Live Interview


(All spellings phonetic – could be incorrect)

Trapped in the rubble…

Cassandra Codrington 27 years old

Donavera 30 years old (husband)

Shaquonda 7 years old

Shaquila 3 years old

Yashero 1 years old

Family Member OK…

Donica 3 months old was not at home – was staying with relatives.

Interview with George Edgehill Deputy General Manager National Housing Corporation Team. Trucks are on standby at the scene if needed.

US Miami Rescue Team Not Yet Arrived In Barbados as of 9:30pm Barbados time.

Specialist Rescue team from Miami with 4 dogs, special equipment, video cameras and sensors still in the air.

Attorney General Dale Marshall says there will be 12 members on the US Rescue Team. The four specially trained dogs are used to find people in the rubble.

Barbados rescuers have not been able to locate any of the victims to 9:30pm Barbados time.

The area has been evacuated in a radius of 500 feet, but the authorities are watching closely to see if a larger radius is needed. Impacted so far are 5 residences and 3 apartment buildings. Seismographic tests are being continued throughout the night to determine if there is any further movement of the rock formations in the area.

Minister of Social Transformation Trevor Prescod states that 15 evacuees are at the Vauxhall Senior Citizens’ village.

Prime Minister Arthur – “Everything humanly possible is being done.” “A decision will have to be made as to whether or not the area can continue to be lived in.”

Coordinator of Barbados Rescue Team: Doctor Brian Charles – “This is a rescue. We are not giving up on the hope of life because persons can live for a period of time in pockets.” There have been problems with spectators interfering with rescuers (just by getting in the way) Appeals for all to stay away.

8:32pm Barbados Time – Voice Of Barbados Live Interview

– Interviewing some Police Inspector

Help from USA has not yet arrived. Delay. Expected tonight but later.

– Some comments about crowd control. Please stay away from the area.

– Two cranes on scene – 100 ton and 200 ton. One at Chelsea Avenue, one at Brittons Crossroad.

– Interviewing Mr. Jefferson Bravelle (phonetic) from the Roving Response Team. Several fresh cave-ins making rescue difficult. Now cutting out large sections of walls. Eleven men digging now. Also portable cameras on scene trying to look for survivors. All rescuers are tethered to the crane in case of further collapse.

“This is still a rescue. We have been here since six oclock this morning. WE WILL NOT GIVE UP UNTIL THEY ARE FOUND.”

8:40pm Barbados Time – Live report ends. Another briefing in one hour.

6:55pm Barbados Time

Thanks to BFP reader D for the above satellite view identifying the exact building that collapsed into the cave.

6:04pm Barbados Time – Voice Of Barbados Radio

– Prime Minister Arthur speaking, sounds down as you would think.

– From Barbados Underground

The government of Barbados has taken a decision to request assistance from the USA through the resident Ambassador. The experts in search and rescue and expected to be on the ground at 8.30AM tonight. (editor’s note: must mean 8:30pm?)Congrats to the government for making a quick decision.The next official Press Conference is scheduled for 11AM tomorrow 27 August 2007. Assessment of the wider area is still being undertaken to determine if wider evacuation will be required.”

– Difficult moment for the country.

– Meeting at 11am tomorrow (?) to provide financial resources for rescue team.

Editor’s Note: 5:25pm Barbados Time

Hello friends, Cliverton here. First let me apologize to our readers and my companions for not making my noon “spam patrol” assignment. That said, I am here now and will be updating the blog with whatever information I can find.

First, our blogging friend at Pull! Push! has posted a link to a map of the area where the apartment block collapsed into the cave.

Next, click on the above CBC photo to view the latest television report (but it is a little old).

Editor’s Note: 2pm Barbados Time

Friends, I have to be off to work and Cliverton has not been seen as yet. He was supposed to be taking over at noon. When Clive or Robert get online they will update this article. Until then listen for reports at VOB Radio above, the CBC or the Nation News (nothing up there to now but we are told that it shouldn’t be much longer.)

We haven’t given up hope for the trapped family and we continue to pray for them, their families and friends – and for the courageous people who are even now risking their own lives to attempt a rescue.

1:21pm Barbados Time Update From VOB Radio

– 2 adults, 3 children known to be in collapsed apartment building.

– Family members on scene.

– Workers now removing debris from cave.

– No communication established with victims.

– Reporter asks about ground rumblings being heard in other places!

– Police say they are evaluating.

CBC News – Update On Website

CBC Article Tells Of Cries For Help From The Wreckage For Hours, Now Faded

Apartment Block Collapses Into Underground Cave. Family Trapped Since Early Morning

Efforts are underway to rescue a family of four trapped underground after part of the apartment building they were living in collapsed into a cave, early Sunday morning.Police, fire and Disaster Emergency Management Agency officials were out in full force on the scene in St. Michael where the incident occurred about 4:45 a.m.

Acting Commissioner of Police Bertie Hinds said engineering experts had to determine whether the area was safe enough to proceed with the rescue attempt, but just after 10 a.m., a two-man team was sent in.

He said they had heard voices crying for help up to four hours after the incident. But he said those cries have become fainter and up to 8 a.m., no one else was heard.

Three other families living in the apartment building managed to get out safely and temporary shelter is being provided for them in a nearby school.

Residents within 500 feet of the area have been evacuated in the interest of safety but officials say they will have to make a determination on whether the area will be declared a disaster area.

Prime Minister Owen Arthur, other government officials and Opposition Leader, David Thompson went on the scene as efforts progressed.

Arthur described the incident as a catastrophe and said he has put a team in place to manage the situation.

… CBC News (link here)

12:31pm Barbados Time – Update From VOB Radio

– Four family members known trapped

– Apartment and a house have fallen into the cave. A joint Barbados Defense Force and Fire team went into the cave, but are unable to get further until the roof is removed.

– Two cranes on scene assisting in efforts.

– On scene this morning PM, Tourism Minister, Public Works Minister, Attorney General. Leader of Opposition.

– Police spokesman – still no determination as to how wide an area will be evacuated.

Interview of neighbour – Heard noise, then ran and saw the second part of the collapse. Apartment was built on known cave, There was construction going on behind the building. Speculation that this may or may not have contributed to the collapse of the apartment building.

11:38am Barbados Time – Live interview of some government official… Police Station Sergeant

– So far no signs of life from the missing family.

– Please all onlookers stay away from area as emergency personnel are being hampered.

– POSSIBLE EVACUATION OF ENTIRE AREA as numerous other cracks are being seen.

– Utilities only now being shut off in area (?!!!! – it happened so long ago!)

– How many folks are missing now? NO IDEA. Uncertain. Still checking with neighbours and families, friends. Could be many more missing.

– Two cranes on scene now to remove the roof of collapsed building.

– Local schools open for displaced persons.

– Prime Minister will speak at 5pm Barbados time today.

– Reporter spoke to locals: Apartment block was built on a cave that was well known. Goes down 100 feet! Everyone knew about these caves. People played in the caves as children.

LIVE REPORT FROM SCENE: 11:29am Barbados Time – Voice Of Barbados Radio – Family of Four missing 2 adults, 2 children

Counselling center at Vauxhall senior center.

One and a half blocks dropped into cave.

Prime Minister “Catastrophe”

It is being reported by BFP readers that an apartment building in Brittons Hill collapsed into a cave at about 4:45am Sunday August 26, 2007.

I just woke up so I haven’t heard anything on VOB as yet except FM is playing “Tell your troubles to the Lord” right now.

10:44am Barbados Time – Just Now On VOB: Prime Minister Owen Arthur and other members of Parliament are on scene with emergency crews. Building collapsed into a cave.

No names of victims yet. Nearby residents have been evacuated as more collapses are feared.

Here’s some of what our commenters are saying…

August 26th, 2007 at 12:25 pm GMT (8:25am Barbados Time)

So, firstly condolences to anyone who has been injured in the ‘unofficially’ reported building collapse in Brittons Hill.

I cannot get official word on this as none of our local ‘media’ (what a joke) are reporting this as a real-time event.

Neverthless, hopefully there are no dead and any injured are rescued quickly. Reports of the building falling 100 feet into a cave are feasible, as Barbados is full of caves (as per Warrens and NHC building).

Further to this, we are now building flyovers on soft limestone rock, of which the substructure is uncertain.

Looking for trouble or rocket science?

Just Waiting
August 26th, 2007 at 1:11 pm GMT (9:11am Barbados Time)

Rumplestilskin –

It is official, an apartment building has collaspsed into a cave about 4:45 am
(bds time).
A family of four is reported missing.
We can only hope they survive as the rescue attempt has not commenced as yet.

Uncertainty surrounds the size, depth and stability of the cave and its ability to support heavy duty rescue equipment.


Filed under Barbados, Disaster

127 responses to “Brittons Hill Barbados – Apartment Building Collapse Into Known Cave – Family Of 5 Trapped – US Miami Dade Rescue Team Goes To Work

  1. Anonymous

    August 26th, 2007 at 2:09 pm

    This news is sad. Hope the family turns up safe. There may be something to WIV comment about the Four Seasons comment. There is a newly built condo on the west coast (opposite Ssasasfras) that cannot be occupied because the roof of the cave over which it stands, is in danger of collapsing. Millions of dollars are now being spent to reinforce the foundation and to save the building.

  2. Anonymous

    Police are stopping people from taking photos.

  3. Hants

    I guess CNN won’t get any IReports.

  4. jinx

    Unless people are in the way of rescue efforts why would police prevent your “Average Joe ” from any picture taking??….. Is there anything terribly gory to be seen??? Have bodies been recovered??
    Someone enlighten me please……..

  5. iisnoone

    This is a great tragedy.
    It is also very worrying if people are not allowed to take photographs. Downright scary, that is.
    I would associate such prohibitions with countries like China and Russia.

  6. Hants

    I hope this family can be rescued.

    I am surprised that people are prevented from taking photos.

    These types of events should be photographed because in our modern society not only news can travel quickly but so can help and Knowledge.

    The Barbados Rescue services has no previous experiaece to draw from as far as I know.

    Let us hope for a good result.

  7. Just got an e-mail from a reliable friend of mine, she says someone who lives in the nearby area related the following to her:


    1.The apt is brittons cross road (the one way). A little ways past the st. pauls primary school.

    2. Its ONE apt, part of another and 2 garages that fell into the cave.

    3. They were building and additional building for a pre-school or nursery.

    4. The apt building is located above the mouth of the cave.Instead of at either side or a little futher back where the roof of the cave is not so high.


  8. BK

    Would the Town Planning have given approval for the additions?

    Regrets to the family 😦

  9. Sundowner

    Would Town Planning have given approval to the building of an apartment building with a ‘known’ cave under it?

  10. This is a tragedy 😦 Images should be posted here, I’m sure there some1 out there with a 7 megapixel camera who can atleast get a shot of whats going on. Images are way more informative. I hope everything turns out ok…

  11. Undertaker

    This is indeed a tragedy, seeing that it is almost 2pm now and they are not even close to a rescue effort any chances of finding aone alive are far from gone (how i am wrong) but being realistic with something like this and the amont or rubble etc. no one can really escape that alive or at least with major injuries. Lets hope for the best……

  12. Undertaker

    I believe that the police are just following orders in relation to pics at accidents/incidents.

    Just think of it the hospital, joe river, mullins, brittons hill etc. Anything that shows anything horrific or tragic in bim is suppressed. We seem to be protecting the “paradise image” of bim at all cost. Did some one say China? I don’t know but barbados does have a lot of bills to pay, and when you have bills sometimes you have to take s**t!

  13. Getting BYE

    stupse…cannot tek pictures? Thas foolishness.
    I am very worried about this family.
    I wonder if vibration monitoring is a requirement when construction is being carried out close to another builing in Barbados..especially when the building built on a cave.


  14. carib

    Yes a tragedy indeed, i hope that all goes well for thoes involved. Was this just a Building Collapse or was this a minor quake ??.

    Confine space efforts will take time, lost of work and planning involved, unfortunately there can be no quick fix to this, it will take time. Thanks to all of you that reported in and we bajans in the oversease community appericate your efforts.

  15. lew

    Miracles do happen and I prayer one for that family today in Brittons Hill. We in Barbados take so much for granted and ignore things until too late.

  16. Pogo

    Sad, sad, sad. It is time for Bajans to get mad!

    Corruption and lack of accountability has taken one of our families. Don’t think so? Then tell us what geniuses allowed a building like this to be built on a disastrous building site with substandard materials and safety features.

    The blame follows squarely on the politicians who don’t give us (and enforce) solid building laws and on the skidlers and bureaucrats who turn a blind eye to bad planning, shoddy work and materials, and then walk away rich while young innocents die.

    Buildings don’t crash by accident, men who know better make them that way and they should be in jail.

    In the meantime can we stop all building until we know all the why’s of this?

    We’ve had enough.

  17. Adrian2

    could anyone pin point on Google maps where exactly this place is.?

  18. Reporter

    First let me say how sad I am to have read this news and can only pray that the trapped souls will be rescued unharmed. This is a time for prayer!

    We must not rush to judgment or turn this tragedy into a political event because it is quite pre-mature to do so until all of the facts are uncovered as to what caused this accident.

  19. iisnoone

    I hope that the family is soon rescued.
    I am amazed that photography is not allowed. What is the name of the construction company? I would think that victims of a tragedy like this could possibly receive a large settlement if any negligence were proven on the part of the builders. Photographs are evidence. I presume that our government will be taking THEIR photographs.

  20. The Perfect Island!

    “We seem to be protecting the “paradise image” of Bim at all cost.” he said.

    Aaahh, you NOW hitting on the real reason,boy!
    Barbados is a “Perfect Island”
    Such things simply ‘do not happen here’.

    We have to take Public Relations into consideration!
    Our business is Tourism
    and sinkholes might scare away the tourists.

    If only the tourists were as Friken-Fraidy as wishy washy Bajans, who seem unaware that sinkholes happen all over the world, even in Perfect Florida!

    What a laugh, nuh?!
    Stopping people taking pictures of life’s unpleasant little reality. Honest to God!what folly. Like that’s gonna stop(or reverse) something.

    If only were as perfect as things are portrayed in In’s & Out’s of Barbados.

  21. Pingback: The Rescue Effort At Brittons Hill Continues… « Barbados Underground

  22. Curiously amused

    You people are quite stupid. I was listening to the news reports online and the CBC said that they have video and photos of the scene and the rescue efforts. You, as usual, love to go on tangents based on unsubstantiated reports and prefer to talk about “Barbados is a perfect island”, and “such things don’t happen here” and “blame the politicians”. Give me a break. The person who was being denied trying to take photographs probably had no reason to be there in the first place! Aren’t the emergency personnel advising onlookers not to come to the scene?

    Give me a break. The major issue here is the rescue and recovery, is it not? You people…

  23. PiedPiper

    As long as the culture of “money passing hands” exists in Barbados this sort of thing will continue to happen. IF a building inspector ever went out there in the first place and was of the opinion that building on the site of a known cave was probably a bad idea, the developer only had to discreetly pass the appropriate amount of money to the inspector and all permits would have been issued. This is standard operating procedure in Barbados. It goes way beyond building permits to the issuing of work permits, residency status, driver’s licenses to those who can’t pass the test and on and on.
    I don’t know what the solution is but I suspect it has a lot to do with the poor wages paid to those in the low end government positions. I ain’t speaking about the big ups cuz they manage to pad their pockets well enough but the average worker can’t survive on the low wages and high cost of living in Barbados.
    As long as you have a government in place that is only interested in the upper echelons (meaning them) being able to have a comfortable lifestyle at the expense of the people they supposedly represent then the little man is going to find very innovative ways to make ends meet.

  24. Petros

    The Coral Cap of Barbados, as geologists refer to it,
    is a layer of fossilized coral reef
    overlaying a layer of ‘Oceanic Series’ white-ish chalk,
    which in turn overlays multiple,variable layers of Scotland Series alluvial material
    thought to be of South American origin.

    The thickness of the Coral Cap (which covers about 3/4 of the island) is anywhere between 0 ft. thick and about 440ft. thick(near District C Police Sta, in St.Philip).

    The awful truth that has manifested itself today in Brittons Hill,
    is that the Coral Cap we like to think of as being so solid,
    is in actual fact as perforated as a Swiss Cheese!

    It has been perforated, and shall continue to be further perforated, by the actions of groundwater – see Harrison’s Cave as a perfect example of a living cave, in the process of carving itself out of the limestone substrate.

    We have HUNDREDS of “Harrison’s Caves” underfoot, in every parish, perhaps excepting St.Andrew and St.Joseph, which have very little Coral Cap

    IS THERE a sinkhole under YOUR house?
    waiting to collapse your structure?

    – seriously!

    You THINK your house is on solid ground,
    but anything less that igneous Granite is easily soluble by groundwater...
    – the very groundwater supply we depend on for life itself, showers, ‘flushing’, and other human needs!

    Calcium carbonate limestone is rather soft stuff on the overall scale of rocks…and we are a limestone island!

    I’m told that the cave which collapsed today’s Apt. bldg. is raaather large and extensive,
    and may run as far underground and up-slope as KFC in Upper Collymore Rock!

    How many of your houses ‘twixt Brittons Hill and Upper Collymore Rock, are situated over this very same long-running cave???

    Think on these geological things…
    I’m not scare-mongering,
    I’m just revealing some geological facts for you.
    Facts the BLP Government of Barbados would rather you not know.
    And there’s absolutely nothing that God, or even O$A can do about it!
    Nope! Not even Uncle Sam and all his moolah,
    can do anything about our Bajan ‘Swiss Cheese’!
    (Sheet, he can’t even fix the sinkhole problems in Fla.!!)

    You buys your land (at great prices)
    and you takes yer chances!

    Life’s a gamble, isn’t it?!

  25. nearby resident

    There was construction going on behind the building. Speculation that this may or may not have contributed to the collapse of the apartment building.
    the power hammer was going the whole week previous. dang dang dang dang! on and on. I heard it whole week. I think there’s a reasonable chance that the power hammers shock vibrations could indeed have had an effect but blame is pointless at this time because who knew??

  26. iisnoone

    “Curiously amused
    August 26th, 2007 at 7:23 pm
    You people are quite stupid. I was listening to the news reports online and the CBC said that they have video and photos of the scene and the rescue efforts.”

    Have any photos been posted?

  27. Undertaker

    Curiously amused

    The Government “having” photos and people seeing photos are two different things. There are people that take photos for different reasons, news, insurance, pleasure, money making, freelancers, etc. don’t assume that everyone has bad reasons for doing so. But when a tragedy occurs and coverage is discouraged then you are in fact doing an injustice to others.
    Information must flow, if it is incorrect or misrepresented then the courts etc. can deal with that. But like I said we have to preserve our “paradise image” at all cost…….

  28. Ilene, Brooklyn USA

    I am deeply sorry for the families experiencing this tragedy. My pray is that God would rescue and comfort them during these trying times. May God bless and strengthen the rescuers, giving them wisdom and understanding.

  29. Anonymous

    curiously amused is a BLPite in desperate need to defend the perfect island imagery that they have carefully cultured. sinkholes dont happen on perfect islands where real estate sells for double what its worth,especially on shaky ground

  30. John

    Just found out.

    Hope the family gets out alive.

    Caves and sinkholes are a fact of life in Barbados. they occur all over.

    As we build every square inch of our country, we run the risk of hitting these naturally occurring imperfections in the limestone.

    The one at Warrens cost the Government of Barbados and by extension the people of Barbados $50Million.

    Hopefully no lives will be lost.

  31. Jay,Boston,USA

    I cannot believe something like this can happen in Bim.

    I am truly sorry for the families & hope for their safe return.I’ve also talked to some of my family who said they have never seen anything like this & the response since the major accident in August.It also appears that the children & father were on the top floor while the mother was on the bottom when it all happened.

  32. Another dark time has descended upon us in Barbados. This tragedy at Brittons Hill does again show our vulnerabilities and exposures as human beings to life-threatening mishaps, accidents, or disasters like this and other kinds, here and elsewhere.

    We in the People’s Democratic Congress share the hope of those persons who are now risking their own lives in a great cause of rescuing survivors of this very horrific event.

    Also, our hearts and prayers go out to the entire families of these persons who have gone missing in the cave, the friends and loved-ones of these persons gone missing, those who live within nearness of the scene, and who have had to be evacuated, as well as those residents have been traumatized by this disaster, and the entire community of Brittons Hill.

    Finally, in this time of national sadness and grief, gratitude must go out to those who are working around the clock to ensure that all rescue, recovery, social, security, communication, broadcast and other systems are in place and functioning to cushion to impact of this tradegy on all those concerned.


  33. Curiously amused

    August 26th, 2007 at 9:38 pm

    curiously amused is a BLPite in desperate need to defend the perfect island imagery that they have carefully cultured. sinkholes dont happen on perfect islands where real estate sells for double what its worth,especially on shaky ground

    I am an American married to a Barbadian husband who finds your island amusing. What an idiotic thing to say, but I am used to this on this blog. Is politics the matter at hand here? Some of you people are so ridiculous!

  34. crossroads

    praying the family is ok. please pogo, lets not start throwing stones at who or what is to blame. wait till you have some facts.

  35. suzie

    I am deeply sadden by this event and the families effected are in my prayers . Growing up in Brittom,s Hill and going to School at St. Paul’s we all knew about those caves running from as far back as rentokil (what it was called back then) to all up Collymore Rock. the land on which those apartments were built was vacant for awhile all that was there was bush. People like Mrs Bend that live on rightside of Britton’s Cross Rd just after passing St. Pauls can tell you it was all bush and we were warned playing around those caves .My guess is but I could be wrong , is that those residents living in that were shocked to see buildings going up out including the St. Cyprian’s School but I guess money talks and you know the rest.

  36. Pingback: Family of five trapped in underground cave as apartment collapses in Brittons Hill, St. Michael « The Bajan Dream Project

  37. Lady Anon

    My thoughts and prayers go out to the families involved.

    This is not a political issue. This is a geological issue. Primary School geography tells us that Barbados was formed from limestone. We all know what limestone is like…and as a result, there are caves all over Barbados that we know and don’t know about.

    The people of the area knew that the cave existed but what happens is that when people move out and move on, that information is lost.

    We have to look at our general behaviours and how they may have contributed to this…heavy duty vehicles, ongoing construction/heavy drilling, etc.

    I am no scientist, but it just seems illogical to make this into a political issue, when it clearly is not one.

  38. Backra Johnny

    I am reliably informed that the little boy spent the night with his grandparents and was not in the building. so its only four persons trapped. Let us hope and pray that our rescue personnel can get them out alive.
    Also please, lets not look to gather political gains over such a tragedy in heavens name could this be anyone’s fault….
    Having said that, I feel town planning needs to rethink its requirements for planning approval when dealing with applications for large structures.

  39. Anonymous

    Ever seen those odd depressions in canefields?
    They have a small cliff at one side of the depression.
    They are referred to as COSSEYs.

    Each and every cossey (Barbados has hundreds of them) is a collapsed cave, and we’re viewing the remnants,today – from above.

    Every other canefield has one.
    Go figure. Do the math

  40. Getting BYE

    Surely Flyovers must be pretty heavy structurally.
    I aint know if BIM could tek it.

    Still here praying. I hope the family is alive and I am praying that if they are God will comfort them as it must be awful at nightfall.

  41. bp

    It was once speculated whether Barbados’ gullies were created by surface water or by the collapsing of caves caused by underground streams, otherwise known as ‘karst’. Here we see karst in action.

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  43. Outraged!!!!!!!!!!!

    My prayers are with the family in the collapsed apartments and their friends and families. I used to jokingly say that Barbados was going to sink from all the weight that is being heaped upon this tiny island and I am absolutely mortified to see my prediction manifested in this tragic manner. I agree that it is absolutely ridiculous to even imagine flyovers in Barbados and I am glad to see that I was not alone with these thoughts. It is not rocket science that all of this construction while possible might not be feasible nor practical in the long run but as the old people say, “Common sense is not always so common!” The optimist in me hopes that the authorities will view this horrible tragedy as a wake up call and do something to prevent, as far as possible, something like this from happening in future or at least to be more aware of the limitations of mega construction on a tiny limestone island. However the realist in me, sad to say, knows that the powers that be, will find a way to justify current and future nonsenses like the flyovers and the Greenland Landfill and other such stupid endeavours. Progress and the prices we pay, all in the name of the almighty dollar, it is a d**n shame!

  44. Citizen of Barbados

    People are not allowed to take photos it seems because they are getting in the way of the rescue worker. Right now everyone but them should be 500 metres away.
    And Barbados is a limestone and coral island so it is full of cavesw hich are normally very strong so town planing is not at fault the cave probably weakened due to water erosion from hurricane dean.
    Chrisjr. 15

  45. J. Payne

    I think the Town and Country planning has to be partly- responsible. Here’s the reason why. In most other countries. You must do your blue prints. Present them to a board. The board will check if they adhear to building codes, next a notice is placed on the property for all neighbours around the property to know that a meeting will be held where the blueprints can be gone over. The meeting will be held residence can make their claims… (e.g. “It is too big”, “construction on this property- using the method outlined will cause cracks in my wall”, “the board previously voted on two prior occations and ruled that no two-three story buildings may occupy this building” and any other reason neighbours could have about a property and so on. Then once the the meeting is over the board will take all greviences into consideration and they will come back with their verdict. Beginning to end this should take no more than 6-9 months in a developed country. Then once building the buildings footing can be built properly all in one piece.

    Now firstly, since VAT is soo sky high and it costs a lot of money to build some people have built in bits and pieces. Which is fine– but it means that the house isn’t going to be as strong as if it was built all in one go and all of the concrete perhaps had time to set together and also as part of the blueprints process there’s probably various forms of ground based sonar that can find underground caves before construction begins.

    Because the system in Barbados moves in bits and pieces under the administration things are left out. The government builds a huge complex then thinks about checking for caves after the upper floors are soon completed, etc. Chalk this up as one more industry that should long ago have been reformed in Bim….. I hope that family turns out to be ok. There might be more- caves that are unknown and in the case of the fly overs, if there are caves under those “Fly Overs” they better hammer those steel beams down to bedrock and even then I don’t know because according to the geologists Barbados is supposed to be three pieces of Coral that crunched together and pushed up out of the sea? if that is the case the land of Barbados might snap any steelbeams drilled into firm non-shifting bedrock if the surface layers above are in any current motion.

  46. sharmarsh (Maryland USA)

    I am praying that the rescuers can locate these persons before this situation gets any worse. I hope that all the powers that be are doing everything necessary to pull all the resources together regardless of political afiliation to take care of this situation. No political points should be scored from this tragic situation.

  47. Anonymous

    Thanks for posting the names.
    We can now remember them individually in our prayers.

  48. J. Payne

    WOW that’s scary. If it is true that the construction project in a parcel nearby was being undergone I wonder seriously if that could have weaken the ceiling of this cave?

  49. paranoid

    i dont want to sound paranoid but i have been trying to listen to vob and cbc online and have not been able to. i even tried liberty and hott and same problem. i have tried other internet stations and checked all my settings and everything is fine. is broadcast from barbados being deliberately stopped?

  50. I’ve just gotten home (about 2 AM). Where I was is of no importance (The Gap), where I drove past, however, is.

    Without thinking about and realizing it, I found myself in the Brittons Hill area, enroute to home. I stopped for the lights somewhere in the Dalkeith area (sorry, I’m not good with places). These are the traffic lights just before the Brittons Hill post office. Going straight would’ve taken you past the post office. I was waiting to turn left. I looked ahead and saw two huge yellowish, cranes towering above all else. Bright, white light flooded the surrounding area. Lights that reminded me of the National Stadium at night. It’s a scene that’s impossible to miss.

    From my position, the cranes appeared motionless. No audible sounds of activity either, at least, none that my ears could discern. I made a left turn and then a right at the next set of lights. Drove past the Shell(?) gas station on my right. Another view of the site. Again, the two huge cranes in plain view, surrounded by the flood lights. No motion, no sounds. All quiet.

    I had my camera with me and thought about stopping to take a picture of the cranes and the lights. Thankfully, common sense got the better of me and I continued my drive home. Stopping on the road at two in the morning, by yourself, is generally not a good idea.

    I don’t know, but I can only hope that, judging by the motionless cranes and stillness of the area, the missing family was found and rescued in time.

  51. Bimbro

    I am an American married to a Barbadian husband who finds your island amusing. What an idiotic thing to say, but I am used to this on this blog.


    ‘Curiously Amused’, your above statement can be taken in one of two ways. Please tell us what you mean by ‘finds your island amusing’?

  52. Lady Anon

    “Barbados Advocate is reporting that it took over FIVE HOURS for the first rescue team to reach the scene of the apartment collapse.”

    BFP … the B’dos Advocate article says no such thing. It says it took five hours before any overt activity was seen as it regards to a rescue attempt.

    When a tragedy happens, we tend to rush straight as say that the people “ain’t doint nothing.” The fact is, that rescue personnel could have been on the scene from earlier and be strategising as to how to proceed, considering Barbadian officials have never been faced with such a catastrophe.

  53. Rumplestilskin

    I state firstly that this particular post is not meant to be political in any way, but focus on an existing and future problem.

    J.Payne notes above on Town Planning maybe being partly at fault.

    I disagree. Reality is that even a strong concrete structure would go down and maybe the heavier, the faster.

    The underlying problem is understanding and recognising the geology of Barbados and building to ensure these occasions are reduced, even though unlikely to eliminate.

    I do not think aside from ‘local knowledge’ that Town Planning has the mandate or detailed Barbados plans to assess the underlying sub-structure, therefore it cannot be to blame for this.

    J.Payne did note earlier about the construction nearby and judging by the statements of residents this does appear to have played a part. Witness the resident whose tiles have been lifted this week by vibrations, which may also have affected the sub-structure. In my own area not close to Brittons Hill, I myself have witnessed one of my rooms reverbrating with sound due to drilling on a site about a half-mile off.

    What does appear to have been ignored by the previous builder and the current builder is the ‘local knowledge’ that there are caves in that area, witness the local resident who referred to playing in there as children.

    Why do we ignore local knowledge, such as at Greenland. We need to listen, not write such evidence off.

    May I suggest that it is only now that many areas in Barbados that were previously occupied by wooden ‘chattel houses’ are now being converted to concrete and that maybe we will see more of this happening in those areas where the caves are especially near to the surface?

    This is simply tragic, but we must find ways to limit this in future such as:

    – improving our knowledge of our geology, maybe by a consolidated island geology study, leveraging off of local knowledge initially
    – improving the training of our search and rescue operations. While our guys went to do their job, they are obviously hampered by something never encountered here before.It is only actual disasters that identify our weaknesses, thus a broader training requirement, including and ‘exchange program’ may be suggested
    – streamline our building processes, such that where a building is greater than a specific size, the contractor is liable and is bound to identify the sub-structure as far as possible, possibly with sign-off by Town Planning
    – accept that we are a small island and do not need flyovers, massive buildings (weight) and superstructures
    – Use, if necessary, the services of independent engineers and architects to identify the most suitable building method for our specific sub-structure, and implement this as a standard, if possible

    Hopefully such measures may assist in some way in preventing such future tragedies.

    Life happens and each of us must be grateful for what we have.


  54. Sundowner

    Does anyone know what’s happened overnight?, the media don’t appear to have any update this morning.

  55. WHERE are our caves??

    We now need a national program asking every single Bajan with knowledge of any cave anywhere to come forward and spill the beans,please.
    Let me start you off.

    Do you know where the Cave Hill cave is?
    Know the S-bend near the Rock Dundo entrance/supermarket?
    continue out-of-town thru the Sbend and there’s an old (disused) school house out on the cliff overlooking the Harbour area: somewhere under there is the cave, I was told as a boy, back in the 1960s.
    Don’t know if there’s any truth to it, coz I’ve never seen it.

    There’s also caves in the Gregg Farm area, and at Spring Head,
    and then there’s the cave complex that harboured Winston Hall for years,
    under Hackleton’s Cliff and the forest below.

    This island is honeycombed with caves, cracks fissures, and we are mounting concrete, dense pre-cast concrete on top of it, at an alarming rate.

    Sea caves under Coconut Creek, Animal Flower Cave,
    sea caves all along the coast, the island is riddled!

  56. R.I.P. Apsara

    Apsara is GUTTED. Dead!
    Pix later.

    Hint: they won’t be open for business anytime soon.

    Spoke to an Indian guy(staff) coming out the back, which remains intact) the Main House GONE. not even rafters left. – i.e. total roof collapse.

    Kitchen is okay. NO damage.
    Fire started in the Restaurant, late at night after close of business, and it took the entire main bldg.

  57. R.I.P. Apsara

    Apsara is GUTTED. Dead!
    Pix later.

    Hint: they won’t be open for business anytime soon.

    Spoke to an Indian guy(staff) coming out the back, which remains intact) the Main House GONE. not even rafters left. – i.e. total roof collapse…

    Kitchen is okay. NO damage.
    Fire started in the Restaurant, late at night after close of business, and it took the entire main bldg.

  58. marion allen

    I am deeply moved for the trapped individuals in Britton’s Hill. It must be desperately uncomfortable for those who are clinging onto life in such conditions. But God is not dead, He is able to intervene and bring a positive conclusion to this collapse. I pray that God will help in our hour of need.
    Berkshire, England

  59. Georgie Girl

    As we all agree, this is a tragedy of immense proportions, and we must all pray for the trapped family, the rescuers, and even that more of the cave does not collapse. Does anyone remember the fireworks explosion earlier this year in the Brittons Hill/Collymore Rock area. Isn’t it possible that as far back as January, some instability was created in the roof structure of that massive cave from then? If so, then subsequent construction and heavy equipment moving up & down Collymore Rock during normal traffic would have been incrementally weakening the cave roof for all of that time.
    The focus right now is on the intricate network of caves which form the geologic base of Barbados, and the possibility of future collapses. I think we must also be concerned about the large amount of development taking place on ‘reclaimed land’ down in the harbour. Concerning that, I think it’s just a matter of time before the sea comes back for what is its own!

  60. Thistle

    Does anyone remember when a portion of the main road close by Accra Hotel collapsed, out of the blue, and for no apparent reason? Bim is sinking! And they talk about flyovers??!

  61. Bread Girl

    I have been praying for that unfortunate family caught in the debris and collapse at brittons Hill. Up to date rescue efforts just announce that a sniffer dog brought in by the Miami Dena has detected cadaver bodies in 2 places.
    Unfortunately it will take some time to get to the bodies as there is a 50 tonne and 16 tonne boulder which are happering efforts. Along with this, we will get some showers from a tropical depression in the area. May everything proceed as son as possible. We need now to check the surrounding areas to see if there is any other cracks or fissures in the areas.


    The trend of comments by politicians is this was an Act of God.

    It is as much an “Act Of God” as when a driver operates a vehicle knowing that the brakes are bad.

    The cave was known but building permits were issued by government anyway.

    People died but they did not have to and I’m not talking about the rescue effort. People died because our government issued permits to build on a cave that was known.

  63. whatever

    dont worry….super cops on the scene….re preventing from taking photos: what did you expect?!?!….do you think we really live in a free country?…..maybe they didnt want to be filmed in a way that protrayed they didnt know how to use the rescue equipment – that episode of rescue 911 hasnt arrived yet!

  64. J. Payne

    Re: Rumplestilskin
    August 27th, 2007 at 10:22 am

    Hi Rumplestilskin: I should reitterate what I stated I wouldn’t declare this the fault fully of any political party en mass. Because this could have happen under B or D. However supposedly this isn’t the first time this sort of thing has happen in Barbados.

    I cite the former website of the Barbados Tourism Authority and I quote.

    # During the terrible landslip of 11 October 1786, a home in the area of Walcotts Plantation, in that part of the Parish of St. Joseph called Crab-Hole, in which a Christening was to take place, sank entirely underground. “The next morning no vestige of it was to be seen. Some time afterwards, it was discovered through a fissure in the soil, which was enlarged, an opening made in the roof, and to the great astonishment of the persons who descended into it, the internal arrangements were found in the same order as before the accident took place; even the christening Cake was found unimpaired in appearance and taste.”

    # During this same landslip of 1786, several buildings on the Walcott estate were swallowed up, including the windmill, “which was carried some hundred yards from it’s original location and swallowed up, no part remaining visible but the extremity of the upper arm”.

    # Foster Hall Plantation suffered precisely the same fate during the landslip of 1819, during which time the woods under Hackelton’s Cliff slid down in it’s entirety to cover the area where the Fosterhall buildings had previously stood.

    I would argue since these Caves endanger public safety the Government over all no matter who it it is led by should require (if they don’t provide themselves.) ground readings. Because after the NHC building we know these caves are abound in this beautiful country and we’ve got to take care that we are building structures on these underground areas lest we have more horrible accidents like these. Some might say requiring home owners to do this before they want to build an addition on there home will add much more to the cost but I contend likewise the Government could purchase one or two of these machines that could be rented cheaply because whether we like it or not we should knock exactly what is below our island because we’re building heavy structures upon this ground and we are also getting ground water from down there too. Even if just to know– we wouldn’t for example want somebody getting their suckwell tied into a public drinking supply. We should have the full underground mapped for that reason alone.

  65. Wishing in Vain

    From what was reported today the gov’t officials are equiped with maps of these underground caves why have they not been used in the past to prevent building in locations like Brittons X road, Paradise and Coconut Creek as all of these are built on top of caves !!!

  66. What are people with suckwells to do?

    We’ve got a suckwell not more then 5-10 feet at the back of our property that was dynomited into the ground about 20-25 years ago. Some large concrete slabs were placed over the hole so nobody could fall down the 20-30 foot shaft(I’m told it is about “as deep as to the top of a telephone pole”) but after reading this, it has my family thinking that the hole could— be eating away at the foundation of the house and we’d have no advanced warning. The only problem? We’re too far the municipal sewage line tie in for the south coast. If you live outside of that service area I don’t think there’s much alternative other than a suckwell.

  67. J. Payne

    I really hope for the sake of we people that all them new towers down Warrens have had ground studies done?

  68. Wishing in Vain

    Nearer to the point Ask Sir Allan Fields if he did not have the engineer throw in the towel at the Spring garden site as Sir Allan overruled the engineer when they were building the offices and warehouse there, the engineer found a big cavern and instructed them to use more steel and concrete in the site and Fields told him not to that it was uncalled for the engineer walked off the job and Fields built it minus the steel.
    So expect that to dissappear soon to.

  69. Pingback: Z Blog » Barbados Apartment Collapse into Cave

  70. Mcclintock

    I briefly encountered this young man”Donavera” while on vacation in Barbados a few weeks ago. He politely and anxiously spoke to my girlfriend while in passing for she had not been home in at least three years. Although I didn’t get to meet him personally she did speak fondly of him stating that he was an appreciated associate. To the family of this man, wife, and children I pray for a miracle. For the family themselves, I pray that their souls rest comfortably in the Lords arms.

  71. Troubled

    yikes…..were can i find out if my house is over a cave?

  72. cherry2enpowered

    No one could even imagine that something like this would happen in Barbados.My prayers goes out to those who lost their loved ones in the cave in.
    I hope the emergency personnel see this as a wake up call and get the necessary training as soon as possible. What if this was a office complex in the week?
    I too am not in favour of flyovers.For a 166 sq mile island i think we can do better.Not only will it change the aesthetics of the landscape but now this cavein prove how vunerable we are sitting on a coral cap.Is it feesible to keep all that tonnage on the landscape?
    With the overruns on the ABC project[US60m toUS180m] could not that money be divided between expanding the h/way,tram service and ferry service?
    But nooooooooooooooooo,flyovers means more cars,which means more gas, which mean more sales,which means more profits.
    Indentify the system and then you know why things are the way there are.The bus service is not going to be improved any time soon because an efficient service allows more people toride it,a slower rate in selling cars and of course less profits.Same thing with the ZRs, frustrate the populace,and create a need why they ought to buy cars.The bottom line is money and profits at the expense of the man in the street.
    It would be great if the Nation prints the u/ground cave system and the previous dumps that are now develop areas for the benefit of Bajans.

  73. Thinking

    I just read articles in the Nation newspaper written by 2 professionals about the collapsed area.
    I am a little appalled by at least a couple issues:

    1. An engineer who said that ‘It was bound to happen’ Now these same engineers have a body which tries to develop ways of keeping construction constant and standard. But he is aware of planned construction in the area and he the expert through his professional group didn’t take steps to have it reassessed and then some lame assed excuse about not knowing if it started or not…..Please

    2. A geologist, another professional who had in his possession maps of the underground structure. A man paid by Government. He is giving the Nation an interview, but he didn’t use the information he had to warn people about development in this area and or the other areas he mentioned in our interview.

    I am sick of such ‘professionals’ who draw fat paychecks each month and even more often as consultants for some of these same big projects. Who know of issues, many times major ones, and do nothing but sit around and wait to give newspaper or TV interviews. Neither of these gentlemen appear to be new to the subject at hand. Why not be real professionals and use your expertise for the good of the same taxpayers that gave you free education and helped you to be the experts you are today.

  74. messenger

    My prayers are with you all in good times and bad times, however in the last month so much turmoil has struck this island has God people turn their backs on him? Im a witness from the biggest to the smallest have no respect for God anymore. My people change you ways and return to god, thats all. From my mouth to your ears.

  75. John


    There are many people who build in Barbados and save money by not hiring an Engineer.

    The act which regulates the profession has been in existence for some time.

    There was none until recently regulating the Profession of Architects. Do you remember the hue and cry which came from draftsmen who thought their livelihood was being threatened when the act was passed?

    In theory, I could (maybe can) get a draftsman to give me a drawing of my dream house, get permission from TCPO, and hire a contractor to build the house and never pass a “professional”!!

    I believe the new Architect’s registration act precludes a draftsman from designing a two, or more, story building.

    The Government of Barbados built the VAT building over a cave. It was their choice!! Ok, so one result is that they (or we) have to look for $50million for the original contractor, but it was a choice.

    I will guarantee you that the design of this multistorey building was done by very reputable architects, not your ordinary garden architect.

    I will guarantee you that the structural design of the building was done by reputable structural engineers and that the government did not cut corners.

    … and I am willing to bet (I am not a betting man) the government was told of the cave and the effect on costs.

    The government, as was its free choice, elected to pay the extra money ………. but, it would be unlikely that it did not follow the designs of the engineers.

    That would be irresponsible.

    … but me with my dream house with the extra floor to bring in rental money to handle the mortgage …… what stops me from ignoring all the professionals on grounds of cost and proceeding to build? …. its a free world after all and how I spend my money is my business and all I want is an extra floor!!

    In Miami, Hurricane Andrew cleared the slate and everything started from zero. The same karst limestone exists there, the difference being a cavein will end up underwater. Maybe that is why the houses there are “lightweight” by Bajan standards.

    I would imagine the building inspector is probably the most hated and feared individual in Miami, ….. but then again, maybe people who saw Andrew can appreciate the need and see the sense of standardisation.

  76. Thinking


    I hear you but…..couldn’t this engineer have used his ‘social conscience’ to speak to the press before? Now he wants the limelight. He knew but said nothing.

    Don’t you find that amazing?

  77. Citizen First

    John, Thinking
    I am leaning towards Thinking’s position on this matter. The engineer quoted in the press seemed to have detailed knowledge of the cave and surrounding geology even before Sunday’s cave in.

    Given the statement “”It was just a matter of time before it was a disaster,” Adams told the Nation”, my questions are :

    1. To whom does a professional owe ultimate accountability, the wider public or to those who pay him?

    2. Where a professional takes an action in the public interest but in doing so causes financial loss to his immediate client, is that professional protected from legal action by the client?

  78. Thinking


    Thank you. You put it perfectly…….

  79. Anonymous

    that why we will die here in this island, money run things. too many hands are polished

  80. blind

    the is a cave under port st charles which leads from farley hill direction there is a mouth to this cave in point view st. peter where a jada project is ungoig ask the guys on the site what was the first thing they had to do, they filled in the cave with marl lol and built untop of the mouth, once u have money u can build anywhere in barbados just grease a hand or 2

  81. Bajangurl

    I am not saying that this family is still alive, however let’s not forget there is a God that can work miracles… somtimes things happen so we can see God’s mighty power!

  82. Bajangurl

    And yes i am still praying that these ppl may be found alive!

  83. Wishing in Vain

    My feelings exactly that is why I made my plea to beg Marshall to cut out the grandstanding and looking good for the camera and get people into the task at hand.
    The sooner they get into the rubble the better the chances are but with each minute that they have messed around the slimmer the chance of survival was going to be and low and behold they seemed to have blown any chance of finding survivors with his doodling around.

  84. Wishing in Vain

    This is sad day.

  85. Jeppa


    Look at Marshall’s eyes the next time he’s on. Those are not the eyes of a man who his concerned, those are the eyes of a happy man, he looks happier than a puppy with 2 pri*ks.

  86. Wishing in Vain

    I tought of the lot of them I could have some respect for him but then I found out that he still carries on with his legal work even now as a minister and worst yet as the AG, but then this development came about and I see where they and he milked it for all the press coverage they are able to milk it for every few minutes on the TV or the radio, give me a break guys this is not the USA and ratings are not in place here but surely if they were it would represent negative figures.
    Marshall of course is not sincere if he were those people would have been retrieved a day ago.
    One day coming soon this same posturing and posing may come back to haunt all of them.

  87. My heart goes out to the families of those persons trapped in the cave I feel very sad that they have not been found alive. We in Barbados really need to pray, God’s word says that we should humble ourselves and pray turn from our wicked ways and He will heal our land. This is what each and everyone of us need to do, stop criticizing and blaming others and accept responsibility for our actions and work with God’s help in changing our lives permanently.

  88. a cousin of don

    i so agree with jeppa

  89. Straight talk

    A word from a very experienced Fire and Rescue Officer expresses my frustration at the delay in rescue.
    He posted a longer comment yesterday which was not accepted.

    To all the first responders.
    I have just witnessed the worst example of rescue I have ever experienced in my life.
    I am a retired professional firefighter and I cannot express how deeply I am disappointed with the Barbados firefighters’ response to the recent tragedy at Britton’s Hill.
    When you take on a job that requires you to place your life and limb at risk that is what you do.
    I went to work every day knowing that I may have to give up my life so someone else could live, this department has shown that they are not willing to get their hands dirty no matter how many lives are at stake.
    The time delay they waited for some “Dogs” to arrive may have been the very time those victims needed to be rescued.
    Did one member of Barbados’ group of heroes attempt to go into the hole?
    Did one member say”your life is worth more than mine “ so I will risk all to save you my brother.
    It does not appear so to me.

    If I am right then this department needs to be retrained to the level where a call for help doesn’t result in a bunch of guys on a red truck becoming another group of spectators.


    The motto of my department was “ Fight fires and save lives “ and I have sadly seen demonstrated that the motto here from all first responders is “ stand around and do nothing “
    Did no-one at the scene calculate the collapse zone and establish the risk factor for attempting a rescue operation.
    I was not at the scene and don’t want to second guess the officers who were in control but after so many hours surely someone had to be able to make a command decision.

    I sincerely hope that I or one of my loved ones does not have to rely on the “ first responders “ of this nation because they have again demonstrated to me their complete lack of professionalism and dedication to the people they purport to serve.

    I write this in the sincere hope that the members of the Barbados Fire Brigade and all other first responders are deeply insulted and wish to bring themselves to a level where their brothers around the world would willingly stand beside them in the knowledge that they are truly among the bravest to serve their fellow man.


  90. a cousin of don

    I am hopin for the best as well because i know Don is strong, even his son was told of the incident and said his daddy is a strong man he is going to get out of it, even the look in his mother’s and sister’s eyes will tell you they aren’t giving up hope. But to the situation @ hand alot of time was wasted alot of tax payers money was wasted too-bringing in a team from Miami Dade (who by the way said they have dealt with similar situations as for 9/11 and then afterall said they have never dealt with something like this) got in the island @11:30pm did nothing until 3:00am the next morning- complimented on the good work the Disaster team was doing stating that they secured the area and building well (and the same building days later collapsed because the so called engineers/specialist did not strap it properly, cuz i dont know who wud strap a wall from the apartment block that broke away across the gentleman’s house where his garage was to falling away and to a pole across the road-smart real smart).But in the end the Miami team was told they were no longer needed that the Disaster team and other individuals of this country could have done what they were brought here to do,now this is what get me vexed,to know that they were 50 people strong 30 of whom reside in Westbury and know Don the others from Brittons Hill who were willing to asist in the recovery and the were denied,(yes i have took into the consideration of other persons safety) but the people of the area showed them the entrances to the caves and were later arressted for trespassing, now you would think that with all these persons available and under the supervision of an offical that we would have to bring a team in, for the time they took to dilly dally and bring in a team and all sorts of unnecessary equipment i am sure that we could have at least recovered their bodies by now, but this going to turn into a religous and political issue, to know when such thing occurs we are ask to assist in such a matter and if you dont assist you hear alot of folly and when you do -you hear oh we have every thing under control it’s pure ignorance, but here’s where i draw a reference if this was some member of parliment’s family i know that they wuld have them out within a couple of hours, but becuz you got postion or little power dont mean you should abuse it but as the saying goes-“what goes around comes around” it’s only a matter of time before one them feels the pain that we have to endure.

  91. a cousin of don

    to straight talk

    You are so right, not only the Barbados Fire Service but to the Barbados Defence Force, (i cant believe these same individuals could have trained me as a Cadet it’s a shame )all of whom are trained to handle such matters and put their lives at risk for others, i too think they should be retrained and be taught the morale of why they joined such forces.

  92. Jeppa

    A Cousin of Don,

    I cannot tell you how sorry I am for you and your family’s loss. We now have to pray that this never happens again.

    My prayers are with you Don and family!

  93. a cousin of don


    Thank you,

    We must all pray that this never happens again and also learn from it, so if it does we would at least have better knowlegde of how to handle such a situation.

  94. Hants

    My sympathy goes out to the grieving families.

    This situation was unique to the Emergency forces of Barbados and I don’t think there was anyone who had enough training to deal with this event.

    At best we can hope that Government will invest in training and equipment that will improve the Rescue capabilities of the Rescue personnel.

    I think everyone had good intentions but with no prior experience to draw from, the rescue attempt was a cautious and careful one.

    A training fund could be set up to honour the memory of the Codrington family.

    Now the focus should be on helping the survivors of this tragedy.

  95. Citizen First


    In the name of all that is good and decent…have you gone mad to suggest such a thing?

  96. Citizen First

    To the BFP moderators,

    the post above by Deep Thinker is so offensive and ignorant that it has sent me into profound depression. I humbly and tearfully submit a not-so-farfetched thought…that this is a post from one of your enemies. It is there to provide “proof” of your “malevolence”. I beg you, before anymore readers see this evil, delete it from your blog (as well as my two posts which refer to it).

    The BFP can continue to call for analysis and accountabilty but let us focus on healing for the Codrington family and those other displaced families of Arch Cot.


    BFP Comments

    Hello Citizen First,

    You are extremely perceptive. We have been flooded with vile comments from persons working in concert – sending the same post from three different IPs at the same time. These same persons have also established a blog for the exclusive purpose of attacking Barbados Free Press. The comments are posted 24 hours a day, so it appears that people are working in shifts in a large and coordinated attack on our blog.

    Numerous people working in shifts…

    Who might be doing that? Perhaps you can figure it out. 😉

    As to any of the comments posted here providing “proof” of our “malevolence”, it is interesting to note that the blog set up to attack us posted some of the offending comments and then highlighted them in an effort to show how horrible BFP is because of comments they posted.

    We will now remove the offending comment and as usual, we are keeping them all along with the IP numbers. Soon we shall publish the results so that all Barbados can see who is behind the malicious comments and the blog that was set up to attack us as part of a large coordinated effort to extinguish free speech in Barbados.

  97. Wishing in Vain

    Dear BFP I commend you on your work todate, there is certainly a move afoot to discredit your blog by some very disgusting and vile persons, keep your wits about you and stamp it out everytime it raises its nasty head.

    Have a view and you will see the results of their work there.

    I posted there that the property at the old Coconut Creek site was sinking which it is and was confirmed later by two other contributors, and the coordinated attack was sickening calling me everything under the sun for reporting a factual and real situation.

    It seems that once a comments that appears that does not favour the ruling party the attacks start, I have news for them should they not be aware the ruling party has positioned themselves in this position no one else has put them there they are there because of the extent of their corruption and dishonest acts.

  98. Citizen First

    Thank you BFP.

  99. David Brooks

    Well, well, well … its amazing how under a topic such as the horrible disaster at Brittons Hill that the various discussions can go off on a multitude of tangents (and I’m not talking about relevant topics like were other caves could be, etc.).


    “Freedom of speech is the concept of being able to speak freely without censorship”

    However this can be a two edge sword and because of this it looks like you cannot keep to this definition either, since you have ‘censored’ another’s ‘free’ speech just because it didn’t jive with what you like. Amazing isn’t it? Was I naive when I first started checking this web sit (blog) out.

    This blog has its usefulness but in the end it is no different from any other. In fact, it probably starts more rumors than there is truth out there.

    Remember even propaganda has its roots in the truth and the freedom of speech. I’m sure there is plenty of propaganda knocking around in your archives.

    Now, lets pray for the souls of those that died in this tragedy and stop getting carried away.

  100. Jerome Hinds

    BFP Comments

    ” We will now remove the offending comment and as usual, we are keeping them all along with the IP numbers. Soon we shall publish the results so that all Barbados can see who is behind the malicious comments and the blog that was set up to attack us as part of a large coordinated effort to extinguish free speech in Barbados. ”



    There you go again…..!

    Another WINDBAG promise….like the months – old one on the Money – Laundering story !

    I guess the script Marcus was writing on got WET !

    Which one can we BELIEVE !

    Then you accuse both political parties ( DLP & BLP ) about their lack of introducing Integrity Legislation !

    A case of the POT calling the KETTLE black ?

    Really ?

  101. David Brooks


    You need to take the good with the bad. Contributors here take insults left, right & center from others who just seem to be bent of stirring the pot. Yet you give in to them – who’s taking pressure from whom.

    I’m not saying that the post was not bad, actually I didn’t read it, but I speak of the principles involved – what’s good for the goose is also good for the gander. If you cannot take the ‘heat’ then get out of the kitchen. Where do you (BFP) draw the line and what is your criteria and who is watching you or setting your standards.


    BFP Replies

    Hi David,

    The “limits” and standards of Barbados Free Press change daily and it is a constant struggle to maintain our commitment to freedom of speech while at the same time defending against those who wish to see this blog fail. Every so often “they” mount a campaign designed to drive away readers through the monopolizing of the comments section and/or the posting of filth.

    For instance, yesterday we received over 300 profanity laced comments from two IPs. We also received over 2000 spam comments yesterday. Yes, two thousand. While a few slipped through for a minute or two, can you imagine what would happen if we let anyone post anything?

    And just when we think we’ve got it under control, they switch their computer and come back with a different name.

    We have had this debate many times and it is easily settled by allowing anyone to post anything for about an hour. By the end of the first ten minutes our readers start yelling for us to censor and filter the offending comments.


  102. David Brooks

    So you think that insults that are dished out here by persons trying to have an intelligent debate is ok too.

    Were I to come running when I was being berated and ask for censorship would you have obliged me?

    I doubt it. Yet its the same people who move topic to topic and say the same things all over again, like their lot in life has been fulfilled by the existence of the BFP and they just want to get under everyone’s skin and sit back and giggle like little girls at what they stirring up, not to mention being a nuisance particularly in not keeping on topic.

    By the way, I hope you contributors realize that their privacy – for those who like to hid behind aliases, etc. – is not really as secure as BFP says it is under “About Us & Submissions” …

    If you want to submit information anonymously, you can either email us at or, for added security, go to Anonymouse email HERE and use the anonymous mailer to email us. (

    Especially when you spout off that you have access and retain the IP addresses from where the posts are coming from. You’re not making your ‘anonymous’ mailer sound all that secure, and no matter what you say, it still means you can identify where and possible who the sender is.



    David, what are we going to do with you? You confuse 1/ normal email 2/ anonymous email 3/ comments left on BFP

    1/ Normal email

    When folks email us at using ordinary email, of course we see their IP numbers. We will never reveal the identity of any person who emails us with information – unless they themselves instruct us to publish their name.

    2/ Anonymous email

    Neither we, nor anyone else, is able to know the IP or identity of folks using Anonymouse or any other anonymous email service.

    3/ Comments posted on the blog.

    As with normal email, commenters leave their IP numbers when they post or attempt to post…. as have the authors of thousands of spam and filthy comments. And yes, with a little work we can sometimes discover exactly who left the comment.

    David, you appear to be beating some kind of drum – we’re just not sure what the song is.


  103. ??

    Jerome, once again you are right and I have to support your comments… I know not a usual situation but BFP is becoming Barbados Secret Stories…

    David…. take a deep breath there are some good debates that take place here but as you can see many who disagree take to personal attacks… There is also a lot of speculation half truths and downright lies posted as fact ……the thing is to be strong to your cause and try to ignore the idiots!

    it may make you mad it may make you sad, but thats life…

    BFP …. there is a need for you to review your operation as Jerome has pointed out you have made promises in the past and we still wait.. Just as we waited for David to produce the secret IMF report and just as we wait for information on JAWS…. could it be that like them your promises are just as empty…. prove us wrong please

  104. Rumplestilskin

    Just heard on the news that Government has not yet made a decision on the two area schools for the Michaelmas Term, indeed they are still in the process of making a decision?

    As I said before, there should be no question as to their closure, irrespective of the results of the four week geological assessment, particularly as it is obvious that geologists do not have a handle on our local environment. You want evidence?

    a) Warrens NHC building b) Warrens BS&T c) West Coast Condos noted on this blog d) This tragedy in Brittons Hill, all of which had unexpected caves and the first three resulting in extensive cost overruns, the final in tragedy.

    Do YOU think the geologists have a handle on this?

    Furthermore, look for the ‘disclaimers’ on the geologists report, at the end. Do you think they will accept responsibility and give guarantees in respect of these schools? Do you think they are stupid?

    The risk of injury to the several hundred primary school children is just too high.

    Again as I said before, roughly six million to rebuild each school elsewhere is nothing to the lives of these children, especially when we are spending (or wasting, depending on how one looks at it) serveral hundred million on flyovers.

    What are the priorities of the Government? How long does it take to make what should be an obvious decision? Who is willing to actually take the responsibility for such an action?

    As I said before, irrespective of the finding of geologists, these schools must be moved.

    There is no other decision, what is the problem?

  105. Straight talk

    The problem, Rump, is that we have no facilitator in place as yet to provide the necessary consultancy.

    And until such is in place our Minister of Town Planning, O$A, is obviously unable to make any decision

  106. John

    Think for a minute about the implications of a foreign investor lured to our shores and persuaded to build a Condominium by the sea.

    TCP permissions are facilitated and the way made clear. All sorts of concessions are also given, VAT waived, import duty waived, a proper package is given.

    Some $60 million dollars later, just as the weight of the building starts to approach some limit, it miraculously sinks. Not a single dollar has been earned by the investment.

    Who is responsible?

    Who sues who? …. and for what?

  107. John


    Thanks for the link about earthquakes.

    The world seems to shake about 4 to 6 times each day.

    Quite amazing.

  108. Straight talk

    Has Wishing in Vain venting his considerable spleen finally caused meltdown at Barbados Underground.

    There has been no signs of life for the past few hours and I fear we have moved inevitably to Recovery Mode. (Pardon the cliche)

  109. Jerome Hinds


    I guess we should recognise this BLP government’s GROSS attitude to school and School children in Barbados !

    + Which party does Sport Billie ( Billie Miller )
    belong to ?

    The Blind Labour Party ( BLP ) !

    ** Charge ???

    Schoolchildren asked to go school on Saturdays !

    + Which party continues to keep parents & pupils
    at Louis Lynch School in the DARK over the
    Environmental Report ?

    The Blind Labour Party ( BLP ) !

    ** Latest ???

    Minister ( LONG ) Wood says on 2007 – 08 – 29 that the report Louis Lynch School coming SOON !

    + In Brittons Hill an entire apartment Block
    collapses into a CAVE…..which party declares a
    500 feet Disaster Zone….EVACUATES residents
    in that ZONE but ask school authorities to wait
    on a CABINET decision ?

    The Blind Labour Party ( BLP )

    ** Latest ???

    SMOKING ” Joe ” Atherley says a Cabinet decision to relocate the schools have not been made as yet !

    And this is a First – World Administration !

    Headed by a PHILANDERER !

  110. Rumplestilskin


    You are welcome. Yes, the world shakes quite a bit, you should have seen the regular reports around the time of the Tsunami in the East, before and after, many on the 6 and 7 on the scale.

    By the way, note that the scale is logarithmic i.e. for each ‘one’ on the scale i.e. for example between a six and a seven, the intensity factor is ‘ten times’ the previous number.

    Thus, a ‘7’ is 10 times the intensity of a ‘6’ and an ‘8’ is ten times the factor of a ‘7’.

    On top of this, the closer a quake is to the surface, the greater will be the effect on surrounding areas.

    So the figure giving depth is quite important.


  111. Bajangurl

    When i heard dat dey found bodies my heart sank to an all time low…and I doan think enuff was dun tuh help dis family. I feel within my self dat if we weren’t able to deal wid dis situation in a timely manner dat we DEFINITELY CANNOT deal wid anything on a bigger scale, for instance what if had a terrorist attack at a big event, then what!!

    Anyways on to another point!

    I doan know if anybody else realise but alotta things happening here in Bim dat aint accustomed happening here. And i am of de opinion dat dese are de last days and God soon comin fuh he world…
    For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there sahll be earthquakes in diverse places and there shall be famines and troubles: these are the beginning of sorrows. Mark 13 v 8

    What y’all think?

  112. Jerome Hinds


    Very good observations.

    Remember in our midst we have a gentleman who has publicly declared that he will
    ” Move Heaven & Earth ” !

    Since he made such utterances we all have noticed how the Earth has moved…..but Heaven still remains !

    Check the events that occurred both at the Personal & National level for this individual !

  113. Hants

    Did the Owner of the apartments come forward to help?
    I just thought of it based on seeing the Owner of the Mine in Utah helping with the attempted rescue of the trapped Miners.

    I truly believe that this event was an accident.

    Now we should focus on the victims and leave the blame game till later.

  114. QueenV

    I am absolutely disgusted with the circumstances surrounding this tragedy. There is no way that our Government should have waited for the arrival of any search and rescue team from anywhere in the world before allowing locals to put forth their best efforts at a rescue attempt.
    They save dogs in the US faster than they attempted to search for these innocent lives. Do you really believe that people from a foreign country would know the landscape of that area better than the locals? How is it possible that a man could be speaking with one of the victims and no one would even think to tie a flashlight onto some rope and drop it in the direction of the sound of his voice? There is no reason why locals should have been apprehended from helping. When the tragedy of 9/11 occurred you had all persons from every walk of life participating in the rescue effort before, during and after official personnel arrived. All hands were appreciated. How could we portray ourselves as the trailblazers in the Caribbean when we are not prepared to handle a situation that on the global front was not even major enough to warrant mention in the international news? If this was a hotel with foreign guests that had collapsed, would we wait for so many hours to transpire before attempting a rescue? If our Prime Minister and his family had suffered such a fate would we still be waiting? A human life should not be compromised because of ignorance. We are equally responsible for the welfare of each other and until we begin to realize that fancy titles and social elevation does not make one any more worthy of the compassion shown to the lowliest of society we will continue to endure many more tragedies. The fact that people knew of the dangers that existed on this site and yet allowed buildings to be constructed warrants an independent investigation of the agency that oversees the granting of such permits. Corporate greed has taken precedence over the safety of our people and we cannot continue to submit ourselves to such mediocrity without accountability. I would like to take this opportunity to extend my deepest sympathy to all families and members of the community impacted by this tragedy.

  115. Marian

    This is my sentiment. Very well said.

  116. liiiiiiiiii

    i want to thank you all very much
    i am one that was affected also

  117. liiiiiiiiii

    goodbye donavere codrinton, i will never forget you. me and your son will always remember you.

  118. bajangurl

    I agree wid QueenV 110%

  119. ashley

    I am so sorry to heard about the sad tragedy.I was in new york when the accident occuried i am so sorry bout had happened but my help goes to the family and families that were living in the appartment.

  120. pundehill

    I didn’t know the Codrington family but felt as though I did. When I saw the photos, it brought me to my knees — so young, so much potential, so much hope. May they rest in peace wrapped in the arms of our ancestors, many of whom walked in and perhaps at one time, may have found solace in those caves.
    I will never forget when I was a child a story a neighbour in Gregg’s Farm told my father. A man had left his cow in a pasture in Gregg’s Farm (near the plantation going towards Ape’s Hill). He came back only to hear the cow mooing in a distance. It had fallen into a deep, deep hole. He couldn’t see it but could hear it. After that, children in the area were not allowed to play there; local residents wouldn’t put their animals out to pasture there. And that remains the case up until today. As someone noted a few days ago, one only has to look at some of the names of our districts to know exactly what the topography is or what’s there: Dark Hole, Cave Hill, Moses Bottom, Chalky Mount, Rock Hall, Hillaby, Six Roads, Animal Flower Cave….doesn’t take a engineer to figure out what’s going on. Town & Planning should just hire some old people with common sense….seems like we have a whole lot of educated fools or political appointees who couldn’t care less about doing their jobs. This is not about playing a blame game but someone should be held accountable for this terrible and needless tradegy.

  121. Jerome Hinds

    The Sunday Sun headlines of 2007 – 11 – 04 SCREAMS……Arch Cot residents in the DARK !

    All of a SUDDEN Mr. Tale ( telling TALES…a.k.a LIES ) Marshall……says he is not sure how soon the report will be READY !

    Thousands of Barbadians would recall that the time this most unfortunate incident took place….the same Mr. Tale ( telling TALES…a.K.A lies ) Marshall and his other BLP…..PARIAHS were on the radio & television screen…..pretending to be PROACTIVE in the face of this Cave – in CRISIS !

    It is a pity that now the TV cameras have returned to base and the radio stations have become busy paying $ 60,000.00 to politicians to CONCEAL the TRUTH…that the poor residents of Arch Cot are made to look & feel like the SCUM of the EARTH !

    All at the hands of this Blasted Lawless Party
    ( BLP ) that proclaims it CARES for Barbadians…!

    How can this party treat these ” victims ” of this incident so disparaginly ?

    But then again at the NATIONAL level, we the citizens of Barbados over the past 14 years have been treated in a similar vein if we CONSIDER :


    What a PATHETIC BLP bunch !

    If CHANGE is what you desire……then over to Silver Hill this evening from 6:00 pm.

    The momentum for CHANGE continues……!

  122. danmihalache

    I wouldn’t believe such things are possible in a civilized country.

  123. need more info

    can anyone tell me what cause the bulding to collapse??/

  124. need more info


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