Readers Say Barbados Arch Cot Cave-In Construction Was A C.O. Williams – Gregory Hazzard Project For Liz Thompson

FEBRUARY 28, 2009 UPDATED: Former Barbados Government Minister Liz Thompson Writes BFP – “I deny that I was involved in any way” with Arch Cot Collapse

“Barbados Free Press, this is the second time I am asking you to publish my comments. You very quickly published lies about my association with Arch Cot but I cannot get you to publish my response to your garbage. Is it because the BFP has no real commitment to the truth and knows that it can damage people’s personal and professional reputations and then hide behind the anonymity of the internet to escape being sued?

I am asking you to give my response the same kind of prominence that you gave to the libellous story. I am making this second attempt because people are asking me if I have seen the BFP story. In the past I have ignored the many untruths which the BFP has published about me but these most recent allegations are extremely serious…”

… continue reading former Government Minister Liz Thompson’s letter and BFP’s response in our article Former Barbados Government Minister Liz Thompson Writes BFP – “I deny that I was involved in any way” with Arch Cot Collapse

Original story…

Rumours Swirling About Daycare Center Construction

My friends, two newspaper articles about the Arch Cot cave-in deaths recently appeared in the local rags known as the Nation and the Barbados Advocate. The Nation article by Phillippe Aimey lamented the government’s inaction in assisting the displaced residents, while the Barbados Advocate published a comprehensive letter from Charles Whittaker asking many of the questions that have been on the front burner for everyone it seems – except the governments of Owen Arthur and David Thompson.

Mr. Whittaker asked most pointedly…

“Will there ever be a coroner’s enquiry or any public enquiry into the tragedy? The more we discuss the events leading up to the fateful cave-in, the more we are convinced that the final tragedy could have been prevented.”

We have all heard the rumours, but have never read any involved names in the news media in the nineteen months since the Codrington family died. It is disgusting that two successive Barbados governments and the island media are apparently more concerned with protecting big names and political elites than in allowing the citizens to know the truth. It is disgusting that two successive Barbados governments have failed to take the steps necessary to prevent a recurrence.

liz-thompson-blp.jpgAs citizens we have a right to the truth. We DEMAND that the David Thompson government call a PUBLIC inquest – a full and truthful inquest – into the deaths of an entire family.

No Inquest Means Citizens Must Find Other Sources

The rumours have been going on almost since the day of the tragedy and we have no way of knowing if they are true or not. We had hoped that the government would call a public inquest but that is apparently not to be – at least not in any timely fashion. As we’ve pointed out repeatedly in the last three years, Barbados doesn’t do inquests or assign blame, especially if big names are involved.

So we’re going to print the rumours here. They are the same rumours that we’ve all heard and it is time that someone printed them in public – if for no other reason than to force the truth to the surface.

Notice To Anyone Mentioned In This Article

If your name is mentioned in this article as possibly involved in the Arch Cot tragedy and you would like to dispute anything that is said, we would be willing to print your unedited response prominently so it can be read by the same audience that reads this article.

Names We’ve Heard Associated With The Arch Cot Cave-In Deaths

C.O. Williams Construction Ltd.

Elizabeth Thompson

Gregory Hazzard

Mahy, Ridley, Hazzard Engineers Limited

It is rumoured that C.O. Williams Construction Ltd. was doing the digging for a daycare center project for BLP Government Minister Liz Thompson. Gregory Hazzard is rumoured to be the engineer who attended at the construction site and gave the go ahead to resume construction four days before the cave-in. The construction had been halted for a week due to the appearance of large cracks and the loss of a drill bit down a “bottomless hole” that appeared near the Codrington family’s apartment. Mahy, Ridley, Hazzard Engineers Limited are rumoured to be the project’s engineering firm.

Now folks – we are just repeating the rumours we’ve all heard, and once again if these rumours are false or there is more known we want to hear about it like everyone else. If any of the people mentioned want to dispute that they were not involved at all, please write us and we’ll post your comments right here where everyone can read them. You can write to Barbados Free Press at our email address of…  barbadosfreepress@yahoo.com

Here is the letter from Charles Whittaker as published in the Barbados Advocate. We print the complete version because the Barbados Advocate often destroys their archives, presumably so the truth can be changed whenever convenient.

Whatever happened to Arch Cot Terrace?

2/8/2009

OVER a year ago, all eyes and ears were on Arch Cot Terrace in Brittons Hill. There were promises, prayers, press conferences and a hive of activity surrounding the tragedy.

Residents were evicted from their homes for their own safety and their possessions stored for safekeeping by the government. Several experts were employed to evaluate the area and reports generated…then nothing, except the occasional empty words from politicians which were accepted with no questions asked. I have therefore compiled a list of questions for you. Some were developed from articles published in the media, while others simply need answering. Please feel free to choose from them although I sincerely hope that you can obtain answers for them all.

• How long does it take to read a report and why must it be read by the Deputy Prime Minister before being released to the public? Doesn’t he know that we can all read here in Barbados?

• Whatever happened to the Freedom of Information Act that we hear so much about?

• When is the Ground Penetrating radar going to arrive?

• When are the residents whose property was damaged while in the safekeeping of the government going to be compensated and who should they contact?

• What assistance will the government give to residents who wish to return but have found their homes vandalised and who should they contact?

• Why are owners in the enclosed area being asked to pay taxes?

• When are the houses which the government has agreed to acquire going to be valued?

• When will the demolition of the houses be started and the alternative road completed?

• How soon can the government provide the newspapers with some kind of project plan which includes the responsible Ministries and timelines?

• Will there ever be a coroner’s enquiry or any public enquiry into the tragedy?
The more we discuss the events leading up to the fateful cave-in, the more we are convinced that the final tragedy could have been prevented.

We can’t save the Codringtons but with the correct procedures in place, we can prevent the same thing happening again.

CHARLES WHITTAKER

23 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Building Collapse, Disaster, Freedom Of Information, Offshore Investments, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption

23 responses to “Readers Say Barbados Arch Cot Cave-In Construction Was A C.O. Williams – Gregory Hazzard Project For Liz Thompson

  1. Fool me once

    What does it tell when people who know there is danger to lifes go ahead and approve and build a project?

    This is too much for even DLP to cover up so time to say what was happening and all of a sudden loud talker Owen nowhere to be f0und.

    BFP this one needs to get out to the others who livin in danger that they should move out before they get killed.

  2. PiedPiper

    Somebody should phone one of the call-in radio programs and open this can of worms wide open and just ask the question and then ask for Lizzie to either admit or refute.

  3. San Diego

    You gotta be kidding! Over on VOB Michael Brown would stop that question in its tracks, trust me. You think they sweet????!

  4. reality check

    its really quite pathetic that people have to speculate when a government report should have been out a year ago and already mentioned who all the players were from the various landowners, town planning approval officers, contractors on down.

    This doesn’t necessarily apportion blame but people can figure out those who should have known better, those who used influence to bypass normal building requirements and those who were probably negligent in contining construction in the face of danger.

    These people who should be responsible to the Codrington family for damages really don’t have anything to worry about. Those in power like the Director of Public Prosecution, the Chief Justice and fee driven lawyers will make sure no one is held accountable.

  5. Hants

    Nationnews.
    Former Prime Minister Owen Arthur and minister of State Clyde Mascoll also addressed the meeting,”

    “The opposition leader also says the party will be taking its case the people of Barbados from next Sunday through a series of PUBLIC MEETINGS.

    BFP will you be attending these meetings ?

    Political campaigning after 1 year in opposition.
    It is difficult to accept the loss of power after Dictating the flow of special funds to special projects.

    Owing is back!

    Sylvan/rr is bringing back his (less you have forgotten) “father of first world Barbados and ALMOST Prime Minister fo Life.”

  6. Diggit

    Aha! So that’s how you do it, “y3″/pp etc., etc., etc. Very crafty indeed but you forgot you posted the exact same thing under PP but you going trip up under all your names one of these days.

  7. PiedPiper

    Diggit: Posted what exact thing under PP? Do you even know what you are talking about? Gulong and take some Prozac, do.

  8. Fool me once

    Two days after this story by BFP and no one allowed to talk about it anywhere on the island.

    Now it shows this is a cover up so we thinking now this was more serious than we thought even maybe manslaughter.

    And worse off we are allowing others to die the next time without anyone being sure they be safe because so many people cheated to build these homes what is under there anyway and why no one evacuating?

  9. just de one

    I mentioned the construction work on this same site just after the incident @ Arch Cot.
    I bet if is was some small or black contractor doing stupidness they would have been locked up long ago.Its all about $$ & COW

  10. PiedPiper

    I still say flood the call in talk shows with questions. The body that answers the phone will ask you what you intend to discuss with the radio host and you tell them any ole shite till you get up on the air and then just ask the questions. Worst that can happen is that they will cut you off. Embarrass the hell out of all involved including Lizzie.

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  12. keltruth

    $8.1 million for MPW, but has the family received any compensation for their tragic loss?

    ———————————–
    Prime Minister, the Hon. David Thompson’s Introduction of the Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure 2008-2009 in the House of Assembly on Tuesday, March 18, 2008

    $8.1 million to assist the Ministry of Public Works in preparing the roads for the project undertaken by Rayside Construction, to continue the Ministry’s road maintenance resealing and overlay programme and to pay consultants for the geological study and hazard assessment of Arch Cot Terrace and the wider Brittons Hill Area.

  13. greg_or

    Could this be an issue championed by the constituency councils?
    Will they be able to get the necessary answers from respective ministries?
    Call me stupid but I do think that this would be a great spring-board for the council of this area.

  14. Hants

    LAST JUNE two neighbours in Bibby’s Gap, Halls Road, St Michael, got the scare of their lives when part of their backyards began to cave in.

    Now the hole is getting bigger and both women are afraid their homes could be on shaky ground.

  15. J

    BFP wha’ ya modering my comment for?

    Wh*t* is a bad word now?

    Or you don’t want to talk about who or what caused the death of the Great Carew and the flooding of Weston?

    I hope that you are not one (or more) of those people who belive that everythig bad that is done in Barbados is done by bl*ck people and that wh*t* people can do no wrong?

    Because if there was any justice in this place a good number of wh*t* people would have their ‘rass los’ ‘way in Dodds all like now.

  16. J

    I touch too close to home right?

    And it hurts.

  17. J

    Dear BFP:

    A lot of us saw the boulder, nearly as big as a house that washed down the watercourse to Weston.

    It was not an ancient boulder.

    It was a boulder that had been fairly recently mined.

    Where was it mined? There is no quarry upsteam of Weston.

    Who moved it from its mining place to a place upstream of Weston?

    Who put it in the watercourse and why?

    And why 8 1/2 years later has there been no inquest?

    Why don’t you put up a big banner asked for an inquest into the floding at W*ston?

    We need to know the truth.

    Even more inportant we need to know what to do to prevent this from happening again.

  18. Sargeant

    @J

    • Why don’t you put up a big banner asked for an inquest into the floding at W*ston?
    **************************************************
    You are trying to be too clever by half. By your own admission the flooding at Weston took place over 8 ½ years ago which was long before BFP existed. The Arch Cot disaster took place 18 months ago and BFP covered it and has consistently asked for an inquest and investigation. They have published statements from a geology expert as well as gov’t experts on the topic of caves and soil structure. The newspapers are still publishing follow up stories on the tragedy and the residents who have been displaced and have lost property are still very interested in an inquest or formal inquiry.

    By contrast what resources can BFP bring to the table about the flooding? Asking where the boulder came from is not enough. You seem to imply that the reason BFP is not calling for an inquiry about Weston is because they are afraid of stepping on some toes but aren’t these the same toes that would be stepped on in during an inquest on Arch Cot?

  19. J

    Not necessarily Sarge.

    Maybe the BFP won’t be steping on wh*t* toes.

    Maybe they would be stepping on immediate family toes.

    It is alright for BFP to call for ITAL.

    But what if the ITAL involves your own immediate family?

    Would BFP still want ITAL then?

  20. omg

    Thanks for the banner, we too were wondering about an inquest. But too poor to be heard.

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  22. Liz Thompson

    Barbados Free Press, this is the second time I am asking you to publish my comments. You very quickly published lies about my association with Arch Cot but I cannot get you to publish my response to your garbage. Is it because the BFP has no real commitment to the truth and knows that it can damage people’s personal and professional reputations and then hide behind the anonymity of the internet to escape being sued?

    I am asking you to give my response the same kind of prominence that you gave to the libellous story. I am making this second attempt because people are asking me if I have seen the BFP story. In the past I have ignored the many untruths which the BFP has published about me but these most recent allegations are extremely serious.

    The empowerment and opportunity for direct engagement and free public expression which the internet and blogs facilitate are amazing and are to be encouraged but they have to be exercised with a sense of responsibility.

    The facts as they relate to Arch Cot and me are these:

    I was out of Barbados on government business at the time of the collapse but returned as scheduled either later the same day or the next day.

    At the time of the collapse at Arch Cot I was Minister of Energy and Environment. Neither of those Ministries, their departments or agencies, had responsibility for building day care centres or nurseries.

    At the time I was busy formulating a National Energy Policy and the Barbados Offshore Oil Policy from which we made a profit of $20 million for taxpayers, while the Dems have totally messed up the programme and run off the companies which were willing to pay so much money to be involved in the Barbados offshore energy sector.

    In the area of environment I was giving direction to the South Coast Boardwalk project which was then under construction and trying to get negotiations for the West Coast Boardwalk finalised. I was also trying to bring an internal proposal for the purchase of the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary to Cabinet.

    Therefore, in my professional capacity I was not involved in building anything at Arch Cot.

    At the personal level I was not involved in any projects of a commercial nature anywhere in Barbados. I do not own any apartments, day nurseries or day care centres or anything of the sort. In fact, I consciously decided not to have children and have no reason to make any personal invest in facilities for children.

    I do not now have and did not at the time of the collapse of Arch Cot have any business relationship for obtaining professional services from either Sir Charles Williams or Mr Gregory Hazzard and do not know if they were working together on any project in the area of Arch Cot and if they were, I do not know what that project could have been. What I can say unequivocally is that neither the alleged project nor the collapse had anything to do with me personally or professionally.

    I can only urge the BFP to be more careful about the potential for harming people’s reputations and lives in a small society. I also caution the BFP about the pain its lies might be causing to the families of those who died in that tragedy and those who had to vacate their homes.

    I deny that I was involved in any way with the collapse at Arch Cot and continue to extend my sincere sympathy to those who suffered personal or property loss.

    Liz Thompson

    ******************

    BFP says,

    Dear Ms. Thompson

    This is the first time we have seen any response from you. It would have been better had you emailed it so we know it is you. Yes we will feature this prominently right now. That is our policy.

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