Leslie Barker Explains Caves – And Probably Much More Than He Intended…
On October 31, 2007, the Caribbean Waste Water Association hosted Mr Leslie Barker, retired chief geologist for the Barbados government. Mr. Barker spoke on Karst theories as to how Arch Cot cave-in happened.
I’m no geologist, but frankly Mr. Barker explained things in a manner that made sense at the time to most people in the room… even if I now find my own notes to be a bit confusing.
This island is made of 3 types of LIMESTONE – hard, sandy and rubble – and Barker told the audience that TROPICAL lime erodes faster and even moreso with rain; Barbados is full of Geo-Morphic features – caves, sinkholes & gullies.
Barker warned if you see a circular depression in the lime then there is a high probability a sinkhole has formed or is about to!
He stated his personal theory that when Barbados formed, the fissures created to let water run off formed the initial gullies of the island; he pointed out there are not many Gullies in the South.
Barker also believes that Welshman Hall Gully is a collapsed cave, but did not elaborate.
The Truth Slips Out!
Frankly, it was all a bit technical for a non-geologist like me – but then Mr. Barker said something that caused more than a few people to glance around at each other. Because what he said is directly contradictory to the “official” government line about what the government is doing on an ongoing basis to investigate the Arch Cot cave-in and the geology in the surrounding community!
According to Mr. Barker, there are plans, but not immediate ones, to do geo-technical drilling for Arch Cot exploration. The government is using only Resistivity Surveys at the moment, and no speleogy (cave) experts have been hired at this time!
In Other Words – There Is No Serious Ongoing Effort To Determine The Extent Of The Cave System Under Arch Cot!
Oh sure… typical of our government, lots of talk, lots of “plans”, lots of press conferences, lots of “good intentions” on the radio talk shows.
But no cave experts have been hired. No drilling is being done.
Mr. Barker said that the Arch Cot Cave has yet to be explored for depth and that the roof of that cave is less than 3 metres thick. He said that the Codrington family’s was built close to the edge of a cliff, when new rules indicate that buildings should be no closer than 10 metres from edge of promontory.
The Government’s “Ongoing Response” To The Cave-In Is A Sham!
That is what I got from Mr. Barker’s statements: lots of “plans” but nothing really being done. This was confirmed a few days later when I saw an article in The Nation News “Arch Cot Folk In The Dark“ where local residents were complaining of inaction.
In light of what I heard at the lecture given by Mr. Barker, the newspaper article isn’t a surprise.
The Ministers were all happy to grandstand in front of the cameras and make big promises while they were in the media spotlight, but when it comes to real actions – to work the long haul and look after the folks a Arch Cot – nothing but promises.
There are no ongoing investigations of the cave system under Arch Cot, folks.
And tomorrow, when government reads these words and says “Not so!”, ask them the name of the cave expert they have hired, and when he started work…