Tag Archives: Building Collapse

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


Filed under Building Collapse, China, Trinidad and Tobago

Canadian store collapse brings memories of Barbados cave-in disaster

Where are the men?

Dear Barbados Free Press,

As a Bajan living in Canada I thought you would be interested in the following article from the Toronto Sun newspaper because it made me think about what happened in Bim at the Arch Cot collapse when the police, fire and military dithered for a whole day before venturing into the wreckage. Then they chopped down the apartment wreckage into the hole, without regards to anyone who still might have been alive.

This Toronto Sun article by Joe Warmington points out that people live for over a week in collapsed buildings. That didn’t matter in Barbados and it didn’t matter in Elliot Lake Canada where government prevented rescue teams from entering the building, saying it was “too dangerous”.

Where are the men? Where are those who devote their lives to rescuing others in these kinds of disasters? When the crunch time comes they always seem to fail us.

They always talk about “lessons learned” but never seem to apply those lessons on the next time. The lesson for each of us is that you cannot rely upon the government. You must be prepared to save yourself.

The death certificate for Donavere Codrington says he died two days after the collapse and that fact got short shift at the inquest.

The Sun article says that Elliot Lake will not forget. That’s a lie: yes, it will. Barbados did, Canada will too. Barbados forgot and nobody was held accountable for building on a known cave.

Justice Mottley and daughter Mia Mottley

Nobody was held responsible for removing the prohibition against building on the land. Mia Mottley and her family were involved. They owned the land at one time. Nothing more need be said.

sign me “Never Forget”

Further Reading

Please read the following article at the Toronto Sun: Warmington: Elliot Lake will not forget

Warmington: Elliot Lake will not forget

“It’s just not safe.” — HUSAR leader Bill Neadles.

Was Juno beach safe?

How about Vimy Ridge or Helmand Province?

When would such an emergency rescue mission, which would require bringing in the Heavy Urban Search And Rescue Team (HUSAR), ever have safe conditions?

Only in nanny-state Ontario could somebody decide the working conditions for rescue workers in a catastrophe were not safe enough to do what they are trained, and paid, to do. Continue reading


Filed under Barbados, Building Collapse, Canada, Disaster

Nicole Codrington: Family never received any monies collected after Arch Cot disaster

Calls for Investigation into Arch Cot Charity Funds

“I would also encourage all persons who sent in monies to these respective funds to report the matter to the police so that a full fledged investigation by the appropriate authorities can be made.”

Dear Readers at Barbados Free Press,

Please be advised that neither I Nicole Alicia Codrington nor any of the immediate surviving relatives of Donavere Codrington, namely his mother Patricia Codrington, grandmother Sheila Codrington and eldest son Doniko Codrington have ever received or in anyway benefitted from any monies collected following the Arch Cot disaster which killed my brother Donavere, his wife, my niece and nephew.

To reinterate none of the above named persons have received any monies from the Barbados Media Relief Fund, Government Trust fund or any other fund which collected money regarding the disaster.

In December 2010 I requested an attorney acting collectively on the behalf of Donavere’s estate to investigate the disbursement of monies under these funds since it is widely held that the above named persons have been receiving and accessing monies from these funds. This is incorrect and written responses from the Attorney General of Barbados, the Barbados Media Relief Fund, the Barbados National Bank, Mr. Hilford Murrell, Mr. Leroy Inniss and several others substantiates this.

Further please note that all legal fees regarding the Codrington Estate and Coroner’s Inquest have been paid by me solely.

As recently as last Sundays Sunday Sun it has been implied in an update regarding assistance to these families in which my name was mentioned that in excess of $180 000 have been paid out. I hope no further errors of this sort is made.

I would also encourage all persons who sent in monies to these respective funds to report the matter to the police so that a full fledged investigation by the appropriate authorities can be made.

On a separate note I wish to extend sincere thanks to all those, particularly Chefette Restaurants Ltd who have offered genuine assistance to my niece and nephews who are thriving in their own little ways.

without wax,
Nicole A Codrington

(BFP editor’s note: We believe this letter is from Nicole Codrington, but we have not contacted her to confirm this.)


Filed under Barbados, Corruption, Disaster, Ethics

More Damning Evidence that Arch Cot Inquest is a last-minute sham

UPDATED: February 15, 2011

The Arch Cot Coroner’s Inquest into the deaths of the Codrington family is set to resume on Thursday, February 17, 2011 at 2pm. With a 2pm start it looks like it will be a short day with little accomplished.

The inquest needs to be important to Barbadians and not only because an entire family of five innocent people died. The inquest shows how things work ’bout hey and the elites don’t like that. The inquest could have been an important moment in history for all Barbadians – but so far it is turning out just the way we expected. Staged theatre with a bit of fireworks to make it look like something will be done.

And when it’s all over, no one will be held accountable. The report will be filed away and years from now someone will say, “Oh, Codringtons? Terrible tragedy and the inquest led to some important changes”. But that statement will be a lie.

Original article first published December 5, 2010…

Coroner slaps Chief Town Planner Mark Cummins for submitting incomplete report.

“The most damning piece of information appearing in the regular news media is that as of today – almost three and a half years after the deaths of five sleeping Bajans – Chief Town Planner Mark Cummins has neither secured the entire records associated with the history of the disaster site, nor searched for any records prior to his arbitrarily-chosen date of 1979.”

… BFP’s Robert comments on new revelations at the Arch Cot Inquest

In August 2007, five of Codrington family were killed when their home fell into a huge collapsing cave at Arch Cot, Barbados. Inquest or not, everybody on this island knew at least two years ago that Donavere and Cassandra Codrington and the children, Yashiro, Shaquanda and Shaquille, died because other persons made a series of decisions that ended up killing them. Continue reading


Filed under Barbados, Building Collapse, Corruption, Crime & Law, Disaster, Freedom Of Information, Freedom Of The Press

Exclusive: Barbados Coroner shuns Canadian expert. Hans Machel not called to Arch Cot Inquest

Updated: November 16, 8:45pm Bridgetown

Coroner Faith Marshall-Harris says she will now “explore the possibility” of summonsing Professor Machel to the inquest. Hopefully he will be available. (Isn’t that exam time at a University?) He could have been given many months notice but the Coroner is laying this on at the last moment due to pressure from the Codrington family.

Attorney David Comissiong, who is representing the interest of Donavere Codrington, asked the court to also summon Professor Hans Machel, a specialist in earth and atmospheric science at the University of Alberta in Canada, who conducted an independent study of the cave after the apartment collapsed.

The coroner pointed out that she would explore the possibility of getting the professor here.

… from The Nation article Arch Cot Visit

Original BFP article…

BFP Exclusive: New interview with Professor Machel

BFP Exclusive: Codrington Family wants Professor Hans Machel to testify

Coroner Faith Marshall-Harris summonsed over 70 witnesses to the ongoing Inquest into the deaths of five members of the Codrington family, who died in 2007 when their home fell into a collapsing cave.

Barbados Free Press has learned that the Coroner did not summons University of Alberta Earth Sciences Professor Hans Machel (photo above) – nor has he ever been contacted by the Coroner’s staff or investigators despite Machel’s offers to provide the evidence and information he and his team collected about the Arch Cot cave-in and deaths.

Sources close to the Codrington family inform Barbados Free Press that the family is most interested in having Professor Machel attend the next inquest date on Friday, December 3, 2010, and the site visit to Arch Cot Terrace scheduled for that same day.

There is despair among some family members that “This inquest is being stage-managed like a play with only certain actors allowed to take part.”

It is obvious that the people who run Barbados do not want to see the evidence that Professor Machel and his team gathered during his publicly reported investigations into the Codrington deaths. Continue reading


Filed under Barbados, Building Collapse, Disaster, Real Estate

Arch Cot Inquest witness intimidation: Professor Hans G. Machel reports intimidation, fears of arson, bodily harm, job loss against potential witnesses.

UPDATED: February 16, 2011

The Arch Cot Inquest is set to resume on Thursday, February 17, 2011.

Will the Coroner respond to Professor Machel’s reports of intimidation of witnesses?

Are Richard Goddard and Professor Hans G. Machel summonsed to the Arch Cot Inquest to “name names”?

Investigation team of former Canadian Mounted Police Officer and University Professor called building home on cave “an act of moral depravity.”

“I found out many more things that the public has a right to know but that have been hidden so far. I encountered an atmosphere of frustration and intimidation, nourished especially under the previous BLP government. I met several individuals who were afraid to speak out for fear of loosing their jobs, bodily harm, or having their houses burnt down, if they ever went public with what they know. I will speak for them. And should the day come, I am prepared to testify in any court of law under oath.”

… University of Alberta, Canada Professor Hans G. Machel exclusive to Barbados Free Press Continue reading


Filed under Barbados, Building Collapse, Corruption, Disaster

Surprise Inquest called into Barbados Arch Cot cave deaths

UPDATED: October 10, 2010

Also see BREAKING STORY: Intimidation of witnesses to keep silent! Witnesses fear arson, violence & job loss if they testify.

Original story published October 9, 2010…

Barbados government yields to citizen pressure, but…

Will we see a proper inquest, or a carefully choreographed event?

An inquest has been called into the August 2007 deaths of five members of the Codrington family – killed when their home was swallowed into a collapsing cave at Arch Cot, Brittons Hill.

The short notice of only 10 days between the public announcement of the inquest and the October 18, 2010 start date is raising some concerns.

Relatives and friends of the Codringtons, aided by other citizens, foreign experts and the blogs, have been calling for an inquest for three years. With one rare exception, and then only after much shaming, the Barbados news media largely ignored the issue. Many people on and off this island believe the lack of media interest is directly related to important people being involved in various ways with the land, home, collapse and rescue efforts.

Issues raised at Barbados Free Press and other venues include:

– Sale and ownership history of the land.

– The mysterious removal of a “no building” clause on the land title.

– The building of the home on a known cave.

– Ownership history after the home was built.

– Construction work nearby that may have led to the collapse.

– A stop work order at the nearby construction site when cracks started to appear near the home, an engineering survey and the subsequent decision to lift the stop work order.

– The rescue team took several hours to arrive at the scene, and hardly anything was done for several more hours. These were the most crucial hours to save lives, yet they passed with nary anything being done!

– Decisions made at the scene by emergency responders that may or may not have caused the deaths of some members of the Codrington family who may have still been alive after the initial collapse.

– The lack of equipment and training for emergency workers.

– The lack of proper laws, building codes, inspections and site assessment requirements in Barbados and how this lawlessness contributed to the deaths.

BREAKING STORY: Intimidation of witnesses to keep silent! Witnesses fear arson, violence & job loss if they testify.

Barbados Attorney General announced Inquest results 3 years ago on August 31, 2007 Continue reading


Filed under Barbados, Building Collapse, Corruption, Disaster