Tag Archives: Codrington Family Deaths

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

Advertisements

29 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Building Collapse, Corruption, Disaster

Cover-Up In Barbados: Inquest Into Deaths Of Hugh Springer & I’Akobi Maloney – But No Inquest Into Codrington Family Deaths

barbados-cave-children

Too Many Big Names Involved So No Inquest Called: Family Died When Home Collapsed Into Known Cave

An inquest, however unsatisfactory, was held into the death of I’Akobi Maloney while in police custody. An inquest has been announced into the death of Hugh Springer – an innocent passerby shot in the back of the head by a police officer.

But no inquest has been called into the death of an entire family who died because of actions taken or not taken by corrupt and/or incompetent government officials, engineers, developers and greedy landowners.

Why call inquests into suspicious, unusual or controversial deaths like Hugh Springer or I’Akobi Maloney and not into the deaths of an entire family where evidence of wrong-doing has already come to light at BFP and in the Barbados Advocate?

Stupid question. Too many big names involved in the Codrington family deaths. This is Barbados and we only do inquests or other public enquiries when it is safe and convenient. Rule of law be damned.

There are many villains who must bear responsibility for the deaths of an entire Barbados family whose members died after their house fell into a collapsing cave at Arch Cot. Horrifically, we know that members of the Codrington family did not die all at the same time. As he was trapped in the rubble, Donavere (the father) talked to people at the scene after the initial event. Some of the children could be heard screaming for a time.

Although we have been denied a public inquest by two successive governments, Bajans now know some of what happened thanks to the efforts of Hans Machel, Richard Goddard and a handful of others who, unlike Barbados politicians, still care about the truth and the public good. No thanks to the professional Barbados news media who are (or were, in the case of the Barbados Advocate) part of the cover-up to protect the members of the Bajan nobility who murdered the Codringtons…

… from the Barbados Free Press article Expert: Arch Cot Cave-In Victims May Have Been Killed By Wrong Decisions, Actions and Inaction By Barbados Emergency Officials

3 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Building Collapse, Corruption, Disaster, Ethics, Freedom Of Information, Human Rights, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption

Expert: Arch Cot Cave-In Victims May Have Been Killed By Wrong Decisions, Actions and Inaction By Barbados Emergency Officials

“… 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! In the Barbados Advocate from January 8, 2009, Major Binks, the leader of the rescue team, is reported to have spent the first 26 (!) hours looking down at the hole and, in his own words, ‘ended-up as the on-scene supervisor’.”

barbados-cave-deaths“We were stunned when we learnt how the rescue operation was conducted, specifically, that the southern part of the ill-fated house/building, the one that had survived the initial cave collapse, was bulldozed only about 2 days after the cave collapse right on top of the part that had already gone down. If somebody was still alive at that time under the rubble..”

“… experience from places with frequent earthquakes, such as Turkey or Japan or China, tells us that the way to proceed is to remove the rubble from collapsed buildings by forming human chains as soon as possible, and to carry out the rubble piece-by-piece as fast as possible. Surely the larger rubble and fragments of the collapsed house would have been too heavy to move by hand. But most of the smaller rubble could have been carried out in this fashion within a few hours, aided by lifting the larger pieces with cranes… Such hand-and-foot operations have pulled out victims alive in periods ranging from a few hours to several days… up to a week later…”

… from the March 15, 2009 Barbados Advocate article Responsibility and Culpability in the Brittons Hill – Arch Cot Cave Collapse by Prof. Hans G. Machel and Richard Goddard (download the article at the bottom of this page)

Barbados Advocate Article Reveals More About Codrington Deaths – But Still Hides Details From The Public

There are many villains who must bear responsibility for the deaths of an entire Barbados family whose members died after their house fell into a collapsing cave at Arch Cot. Horrifically, we know that members of the Codrington family did not die all at the same time. As he was trapped in the rubble, Donavere (the father) talked to people at the scene after the initial event. Some of the children could be heard screaming for a time.

Although we have been denied a public inquest by two successive governments, Bajans now know some of what happened thanks to the efforts of Hans Machel, Richard Goddard and a handful of others who, unlike Barbados politicians, still care about the truth and the public good. No thanks to the professional Barbados news media who are (or were, in the case of the Barbados Advocate) part of the cover-up to protect the members of the Bajan nobility who murdered the Codringtons.

barbados-cave-children

Yes, Murdered.

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.

Started Cover-Up

Started Cover-Up

“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.

Cricket Parties & Rotten Hotels Instead Of Highly Trained, Well-Equipped Rescue Personnel

It could have happened to anyone because our leaders would rather spend hundreds of millions of dollars on a cricket party or worn-out rotten hotels while our fire fighters use hand-me-down, worn and obsolete equipment donated from New York and Canada. It could have happened to anyone because our leaders would rather rub elbows in Zurich and New York City and disguise London shopping holidays as government working trips rather than send our emergency personnel for a month of real training in the USA. It could have happened to anyone because our leaders expend their energies padding their offshore bank accounts and building homes in Barbados, Miami and London instead of devoting themselves to the public interest.

Cricket Parties, but no money for Rescue Team

Cricket Parties, but no money for Rescue Team

Our emergency personnel, Major Binks included, did the best they could with what little training and equipment they had. Were I a firefighter, police officer, military man or with other emergency services in Barbados I would go to bed every night cursing the names of the damned politicians and bureaucrats who refused to purchase modern thermal imaging equipment that can locate victims but have no trouble leasing BMWs and Mercedes for Cabinet Ministers.

Dale Marshall, Owen Arthur, Mia Mottley and others of the BLP and DLP political and business elites were part of the cover-up right from the start and it continues to this day with the David Thompson DLP government.

Rule of law? Public accountability? Transparency? To generations of Barbados politicians these terms are nothing except words to be dangled as electoral bait, a means to an end.

And now it comes to this. Five people died because Barbados does not obey or have the rule of law. Five people died because we have no standards and we ignore what few standards that we do have. And some of the Codringtons may have also died because our leadership provides the bare minimum in funding, training and equipment to our emergency services and then leaves them holding the bag when it all goes wrong.

Name The Names! If Government Won’t Hold A Public Enquiry, The People Must.

Even the Barbados Advocate who should at least be thanked for finally printing a series of stories a year and a half late (and only after Barbados Free Press started the series) still refuses to name names. In this latest article, the person who built the house is called “the person who had the ill-fated house built”. The original owner of the lot is called “the owner”. The surveyor called to examine the cave in the days before the murders is called “the surveyor”. The person who gave the go-ahead to continue construction four days before the murders is called “someone with technical knowledge” and on and on and on.

Continues Cover-Up & No Public Inquest

Continues Cover-Up & No Public Inquest

Prime Minister Thompson: Show some leadership. Stop the damned cover-up whatever the cost. Bajans don’t want “sacrificial lambs” or false promises and excuses. We want true accountability for those responsible and a thorough and public enquiry so we can all understand which individuals and what systemic faults caused or contributed to this tragedy at every level. And then we want REAL CHANGE.

Dammit, Prime Minister Thompson. Show some integrity and some leadership.

Further Reading

March 15, 2009 Barbados Advocate article Responsibility and Culpability in the Brittons Hill – Arch Cot Cave Collapse

JPGs 300k each: page 1 20090315_p32 page 2 Barbados Collapse Deaths

26 Comments

Filed under Barbados

Barbados Advocate (Finally) Publishes Prof. Machel’s Investigation Of Arch Cot Cave-In Deaths

I then submitted this letter for publication to both THE BARBADOS ADVOCATE and THE DAILY NATION. Neither of them dared to print my submission, even though one of them had at first indicated to me in no unmistaken terms that they were intent on printing it word-for-word in their Jan 30  edition. I have no doubt that pressure was applied that forced this retraction. Thus, the conspiracy of silence continues…

… Professor Hans G. Machel as published in the February 1, 2009 Barbados Free Press article Barbados Newspapers Refuse To Print Letter Revealing Secret Government Report Into Cave-In Deaths. Professor Machel Will Name Names

“At first, the children were heard screaming in agony…”

The Sunday, March 1, 2009 edition of the Barbados Advocate contains a major eight page article on the caves of Barbados and the deaths of the Codrington family of five when their home fell into a collapsing cave. The author, Professor Hans Machel, is a specialist in earth and atmospheric sciences at the University of Alberta, Canada who has spent many years studying our island.

Why did the Barbados Advocate newspaper choose to publish Machel’s article almost a month after their initial cowardly refusal? Did the paper’s editors suddenly grow a cojon? (Yes, singular is all we will give them credit for at this time.) OR… did they wait for a month until someone from the current Barbados DLP Government considered the situation and gave the paper permission to publish after deciding it was a good strategic move that didn’t impact any DLP bigshots?

Your guess is as good as ours, but it is good to see the Barbados Advocate printing Professor Machel’s article which is an expanded version of the articles first published at Barbados Free Press.

Citizens would do well to grab a paper before the story disappears again. The Barbados Advocate has made their Sunday edition available online as an image file at their website LINK HERE. To read the article online, you have to click where it says “Today’s Paper” and then view from page 33 to page 40. The story will disappear in a day because it is not posted as normal web page that will remain available.

barbados-cave-deaths

Here is some of what Professor Machel says in the article…

“The deaths of the Codrington family were entirely avoidable for two reasons: the house that they had lived in should never have been built on that site, and the imminent collapse of the huge cave underneath was not recognised or ignored.”

“…the property had a covenant or deed restriction attached to it for several decades, which limited what the owner of the land can do with it. This covenant stipulated that one shall not build on this land because of the cave underneath. Not surprisingly, when a former owner of the property attempted to get a building permit, it was denied by the authorities. He then sold the property, and yet the new owner erected the ill-fated house anyway, having received a building permit in 1982. One has to wonder how the authorities were ‘persuaded’ to deem the property safe after this history, and the suspicion is warranted that something grossly negligent if not illegal happened here.”

“Despite all this, the tragedy could have been avoided, had somebody not made a fateful – and as it turned out fatal – decision in the days preceding the cave collapse…”

PDF Copy of Professor Machel’s Article

Thanks to Professor Machel for providing us with this PDF copy of his article…

CLICK HERE (2.5 mb PDF)


29 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Building Collapse, Corruption, Disaster, Freedom Of Information, Freedom Of The Press, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption

Former Barbados Government Minister Liz Thompson Writes BFP – “I deny that I was involved in any way” with Arch Cot Collapse

The following comment which purports to be from former BLP Government Minister Liz Thompson was posted today on our previously published story Readers Say Barbados Arch Cot Cave-In Construction Was A C.O. Williams – Gregory Hazzard Project For Liz Thompson. We at BFP will save our comments until after the submission by (apparently) Liz Thompson – except to say that we had not received any submission before this one or we surely would have published it for fairness AND because its a great news story.

As Ms. Thompson requested, we will leave this post up as prominently and even more prominently than the original so everyone can read her response. We have also created an introduction and a link on the previous post to further prominently display the message from the former Government Minister.

One caution, we have not confirmed that this is Liz Thompson as it wasn’t sent from her email, it was posted as a comment. Take it away (apparently) Liz Thompson… Continue reading

61 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Building Collapse, Corruption, Disaster, Ethics, Freedom Of Information, Freedom Of The Press, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption