Category Archives: Building Collapse

Remembering Campus Trendz and Arch Cot – years later Barbados still doesn’t have a building code

Passersby heard the screams from Campus Trendz store: no back door and bars on the windows.

“The criminals threw the firebombs, but it was an irresponsible government, building owner and shop owner that made the firebombs inescapable death.”

Barbados Free Press, September 5, 2012 Campus Trendz deaths: What criminals allowed bars on the windows, no fire exits?

by Cliverton

Almost five years after the Campus Trendz slaughter, sleep does not come easily for my friend. In her mind she still sees the weeping desperate men in the smoke at the rear of Campus Trendz – cursing and yelling as they used hand sledges to break through the brick wall all too slowly. She couldn’t watch any longer, she couldn’t listen to the screams any longer and there was nothing the girl could do so she walked away. That haunts her to this day.

Pearl Amanda Cornelius, 18, Kelly Ann Welch, 24, Shanna Griffith, 18, Nikita Belgrave, 23, Tiffany Harding, 23 and Kellisha Ovivierre, 24, burned to death because two evil men robbed the store and smashed flaming bottles of petrol. That is one of the causes of their deaths.

The other cause of their deaths is that Barbados has no enforceable building code. Folks just build as they want to, with no standards as to amount of steel or how rebar is connected. No standards as to fire exits or alternate fire exits through windows. Campus Trendz was a deathtrap from the moment it was constructed, and six young women died because Barbados had no building code to protect them.

Similarly an entire family died at ArchCot when a powerful family (BLP leader Mia Mottley’s family) invested in land over a known cave. How the prohibition against building over the known cave was lifted was never really explained to the public. Just another of those magical Bajan processes very similar to how a BLP Government Minister came to live in a house built on private land that had been expropriated for government purposes.

That Barbados has no building code makes it easier for the corruption and the corrupt to thrive and profit.

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Filed under Barbados, Building Collapse, Corruption, Crime & Law, Disaster, Politics & Corruption

Chinese contractors in the Caribbean can build it cheap… but then the walls collapse

china fail caribbean

by Afra Raymond

by Afra Raymond

This article is about the Las Alturas Enquiry into the collapse of two new Morvant apartment buildings erected by China Jiangsu International Corporation (CJIC) for the Housing Development Corporation (HDC).

This Enquiry seems a politically-motivated one into a serious failure of professional practice which could have cost human lives. It is only in its opening stages, but it is already clear to me that this episode is one which contains serious lessons for our country in terms of the role of Enquiries; the role of the Chinese contractors; the culture of non-enforcement which we practice and of course, the impact of targets and political objectives on proper process.

In the case of Las Alturas this is a large-scale multiple-housing project constructed on a former quarry-site on the Lady Young Road, just south of the lookout. Two apartment buildings which were completed in late 2010 were eventually declared uninhabitable due to severe cracking and the proposed demolition of those structures was announced at the end of May 2012. Each building comprised 24 three-bedroom/two-bathroom apartments, with the total cost of those buildings stated by HDC to be in the $29M range. The buildings were erected by CJIC on the design/build basis which usually places all responsibility for soil investigation, design and construction onto the contractor…

… continue reading Afra Raymond’s Riding the Dragon

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Filed under Building Collapse, China, Trinidad and Tobago

The Bridges of St. Vincent: Unnecessary deaths and destruction likely to continue.

Christmas 2013: Body bags are the natural result of building on flood plains and failing to clear bridge obstructions.

Christmas 2013: Body bags are the natural result of building on flood plains and failing to clear bridge obstructions.

The future is as dark as the silt-laden waters

by Peter Binose

(Photo courtesy of I-Witness News)

The 3rd Duke of Bridgewater and perhaps even Isambard Kingdom Brunel would turn in their graves if they could see how the Unity Labour Party have neglected our little island’s waterways and bridges to the extent that bridges are destroyed on a regular basis.

It’s ever so simple to comprehend really – streams, rivers and tributaries have to be kept clear of obstructions and siltation on a very regular basis. If this procedure is neglected even for one season,  flooding will ensue which will cause river bank and bridge damage, if not total loss of bridges. Everyone with half a brain knows that, but obviously not the ULP leadership.

Over the last fourteen years just about every bridge on our tiny island of Saint Vincent has suffered serious damage. The rivers are allowed to collect tree trunks and roots and other debris and rubbish without regular round the year maintenance and clearance by teams of work men clearing and burning such vegetation waste. When it rains heavy this debris floats down river and blocks under bridges.

Of course the silt level under bridges is allowed to grow to such an extent that between the debris and the silt, an effective dam is created.

When the silt and debris effectively blocks the water flow under the bridge the water builds up to an enormous pressure that damages the bridge and attached road. The sudden release of a large volume of water rushes down river taking with it the next bridge, if there is one, where the bridge dam sequence and sudden release is repeated on a magnified basis, also taking river banks on its way. Eventually this torrent overflows into the ancient flood plains as has happened for hundreds of thousands of years.  Continue reading

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Filed under Building Collapse, Disaster, St. Vincent and the Grenadines

House collapse disaster in St. Vincent a predictable result of Government negligence and corruption

st vincent house collapse disaster

The ULP’s  Electioneering Housing Scheme Hits a Slippery Slope.

Homes at Clare Valley are now blighted and worthless.

by Peter Binose

When you have evil in your heart you can almost be certain things will inevitably go wrong – the Karma will get you. That’s what has happened, and that’s the basis of the ULP housing schemes. The ULP like to describe them as a “government” housing schemes, but that is not true. They are schemes designed by a political party that is in a position of power – to build houses for their own supporters in areas where the party needs to boost their voting electorate. It is no more and no less than that.

It’s an attempt to move whole swathes of supporters into areas where the ULP have low support. It’s the old British Labour Party style of increasing votes where the party needs votes to get elected. This is a practice invented by the British Labour Party government in the early days when nasty Marxist types and other little red devils ruled the country.

“The ULP had the brilliant idea of acquiring rock-bottom priced land and giving it to political supporters.

Of course these lands had no value because they were problem lands – extreme slopes with soil problems that made construction a dangerous proposition…”

In 1951 the British Labour Party established a scientific socialist revolution and planned to build council houses in the UK for rent and sale in areas that traditionally had low socialist support. They went to pretty little towns and villages of a few hundred or a few thousand people and supplanted a populace that greatly exceeded that of the original people count – sometimes by more than double.

Clare-Valley-houses disaster St Vincent

That is exactly what the ULP government wants to do: plant and install large numbers of people in housing projects in areas where they previously could not get elected. But to do that they must ensure that those who take the houses are grateful to the party and will vote for them come hell or high water. This cannot be a fair government policy; it can only be a party political policy dressed as a government giveaway scheme that benefits a certain section of the populace and excludes others. Continue reading

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Filed under Building Collapse, Disaster, Political Corruption

United Nations says a moderate earthquake or hurricane would destroy 80% of Barbados schools, homes. St. Lucia would lose only 20%.

What makes you think Barbados would fare better than Haiti did in 2010?

What makes you think Barbados would fare better than Haiti did in 2010? 80% of Bajan houses, schools, hotels and public buildings are expected to collapse during a MODERATE hurricane or earthquake! (Source: UN)

Grenville Phillips II sounds the alarm…

… and offers a low cost retro-fit solution for home-owners and government

The Government has indicated that a significant amount of the planned $2.5B new debt is to be used to build new infrastructure. Before spending any of this money on new infrastructure, let me suggest that the Government meaningfully regulate the construction industry.

Having trained over 500 construction personnel around the Caribbean, I can confirm that much of our infrastructure is indeed substandard.  I have spent the past 15 years providing explicit evidence supporting the accurateness of this claim, and while some countries have heeded and improved, Barbados has gone backwards.

The United Nations recently assessed Barbados’ infrastructure and concluded in its Global Assessment Report (2013) that Barbados is expected to suffer probable maximum losses of over 80% of its gross fixed capital formation (buildings, equipment and infrastructure) if we are impacted by a moderate earthquake, or hurricane.  This is the UN’s worst possible assessment category.  For comparison, the UN predicts that neighbouring St Lucia is only expected to suffer probable maximum losses of 10% to 20%.

When will we wake up and realise that we are doing something terribly wrong?  Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Building Collapse, Consumer Issues, Disaster, Haiti

Stop building on Buccament Bay flood plain – Death is coming again

Ricky Small cries for his dear wife Joselle, who was taken by the raging waters at Buccament Bay Resort.

Ricky Small cries for his dear wife Joselle, who was taken by the raging waters at Buccament Bay Resort.

by Peter Binose

The private housing development along the Buccament River, in fact beside the Buccament river in the flood plain, was going full speed when I visited last week. Express work is taking place on finishing about a dozen further units, with all stages in progress from start up on.

I walked with a family member of the land owners and builders, who told me the family is worried that they may be stopped from building. But he thought perhaps because of the relationship between them and the ULP leadership they had some considerable protection.

Considering the devastation caused by the December 2013 flooding it is unbelievable, perhaps even criminal, that the government has not stopped further building in an area which has been recorded as a disaster zone for centuries. The area is an ancient and modern floodplain, as shown by the follow records going back to 1876!  Continue reading

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Filed under Building Collapse, Disaster, Environment, Offshore Investments, Real Estate

Lawsuit in Arch Cot cave-in deaths

Codrington family survivors seek justice

Five years after five sleeping members of the Codrington family were buried alive when their home collapsed into a known cave, lawyer David Comissiong has announced his intentions to sue the negligent parties on behalf of the surviving family members.

Named in the lawsuit are the Attorney General, the Town Planning Department, apartment building owner Peter Cox, Mahy Ridley Hazzard Engineers Limited, Lemuel Rawlins (original land owner) and Dr. Jerry Emtage, who was constructing a building behind the apartment where the Codringtons died. (Nation News: Arch Cot Suit)

Civil Cases often take 20+ years in Barbados courts

In January of 2012 we predicted that an Arch Cot civil case would be at least 22 years in the Barbados Courts. We didn’t pull that figure from a hat, you know. 22 years is a reasonable estimate based upon the size of the case and the known and proven non-performance of the Barbados Justice system and island lawyers who will be opposing Mr. Comissiong.

See Arch Cot Justice will be delayed another 20 years

BFP will continue to follow the Arch Cot Disaster story

Cover-up: AG Marshall said nobody was to blame

Barbados Free Press followed the story from the early morning of August 26, 2007 and joined the Codrington family survivors in shaming the government into calling an inquest. This was after then Barbados Attorney General Dale Marshall actually announced the results of his ‘investigation’ a mere six days after the disaster by concluding that nobody was to blame.

“It could have happened to anyone” said then-Attorney General Dale Marshall before the bodies had even been pulled from the rubble.

Yes, of course it could have happened to anyone in Barbados with people like Dale Marshall in positions of power and authority – who are part of and responsible for the corrupt public institutions that issued the building permits and failed in their duty to protect innocent citizens.

It was Barbados Free Press that first published the work of noted Professor Hans G. Machel, who said right out that the deaths were caused by “gross negligence”

“The five Codringtons were murdered just as surely as if someone had put a gun to their heads and pulled the trigger – especially in the crimes that were committed when the ticking-time-bomb of a house was built upon a known cave.”

from BFP’s March 17, 2009 article Expert: Arch Cot Cave-In Victims May Have Been Killed By Wrong Decisions, Actions and Inaction By Barbados Emergency Officials

When Barbados newspapers and electronic news media refused to publish Professor Machel’s letter to Prime Minister David Thompson, Barbados Free Press published the story of how witnesses lived in fear because they know how things go ‘pon de rock…. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Building Collapse, Corruption, Disaster