Arch Cot Coroner's Inquest Revelations, ASTOUNDING!

Submitted by MR Thompson

Coroner Faith Marshall-Harris (right) in discussion with Chief Town Planner Mark Cummins during the visit to Arch Cot - Photo Credit Nation

Finally were hearing some “facts” about what transpired at Arch Cot during the preparations for construction on the site. The testimony is startling as to what people knew and what those people did not do. There are several questions that need to be answered, however with everything Barbadian I’m confident that all questions will be one way or the other swept under the rug and remain un-answered.

Why did this situation happen, here are a few of my conclusions…

  • Lack of regulations and codes relating to construction, NO BUILDING CODE,
  • No government site inspection and pre approvals of construction designs,
  • Barbados is a known country of caves and underground voids, however no regulations requiring geotechnical evaluations of site prior to approvals for construction,
  • Professional Engineering Qualifications are of a questionable level,
  • Corruption,
  • Incompetence,
  • ETC., ETC., ETC. and the list goes on.

My solution is….

  • First there are a number of Senior Civil Servants from numerous departments that need to be FIRED,
  • Secondly, anyone on the Political front that in any way assisted the site development be JAILED,
  • Thirdly, Some Professional Engineers involved need to have their qualifications REMOVED,
  • Fourthly, Barbados needs to implement a set of BUILDING CODES and rigorously enforce them,
  • Fifth, the toughest one, Bajan mentality, education etc. must be more COMMON SENSE focused.

The lack of rules, regulations, codes of practice etc. will no doubt result in no-one being found at fault, hard to say someone did something wrong if there is no rule, regulation or code to reference. Corners inquest has no authority in law, can only make recommendations that do not have to be followed or implemented. Politically it’s best not to have rules, regulations, codes etc. as it’s always a means of escaping liability, responsibility, criminality etc.

Sorry to say “nothing will change” except that five innocent individuals lost their lives and several property owners have been financially devastated.

0 thoughts on “Arch Cot Coroner's Inquest Revelations, ASTOUNDING!

    • @anthony

      Your statement is contradictory. We can only claim to have a building code if it becomes mandatory to comply with it. The code to which you refer is in draft.

    • @anthony

      Let us agree to disagree, the code can only be effective if the standards not complied with are easily enforceable by home-owners.

      Poor housing stock worrying


      ATTORNEY General Adriel Brathwaite is disappointed with the condition of this island’s housing stock.

      Describing the island’s building stock as “poor”, he noted that this became highly evident in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Tomas.

      “We have been lucky to date that we have not been struck by anything, but I guarantee you that if we do get hit by a significant system that we are going to be devastated. I shudder when I drive around and look at the level of our building stock,” he continued.

      According to him, minimum building standards should be implemented in Barbados upon considering the level of damage the island sustained in the storm’s fury.

      “I have seen the level of damage brought on by Tomas and in terms of sending signals of what we would like to see, personally I believe that we should have some type of minimum building standards.”

      In addition, he stressed: “Having a building code would get people to recognise that they should spend more money putting their homes into a condition that if and when it is struck, they can survive and this is more important than putting money into vehicles to make them look like palaces.”

      Admitting that this type of behaviour could not be legislated, Brathwaite nevertheless encouraged locals to take proactive steps in ensuring their homes were safe.

      “Contractors and persons building homes need not wait for a building code, but should take it upon themselves that they need for their own protection a structure of integrity that will survive,” he stated.

      The AG was addressing several concerns of the insurance industry yesterday at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre during a meeting with the General Insurance Association of Barbados (GIAB) and the heads of insurance firms. (JMB)

  1. David
    The code it there to be use and should be use and as such it is building code whether is madetory or not doesn’t take away from the point it is the building code.

  2. Professional responsibility should trump the existence or non-existence or enforcement of a Building Code!

    • @Stand Up2

      Surely a naive view?

      Your position rings true for any profession but we need the code enforced by legislation because we live in the real world and not* a Utopia.

  3. Japan had a great housing stock with buildings designed to withstand 8.0 Earthquakes.

    Barbados needs to legislate and enact a building code and create a department to do Inspections and to enforce compliance.

    So much to do so little money.

  4. Money and power trumps Professional responsibility in the real world.
    That is why there is something called Legislation.

  5. @ David

    Naivety is a two way street.

    So you get your legislation and force everyone to build a hurricane proof, earthquake proof, fire proof house – that is also stylish (LOL)

    1 – Apart from you, GP, Hants, and Inkwell – who else will be able to afford a home?
    2 – We get a cat 4, or an 8.9 quake, and the dog dead anyway…or more likely the bank come back for it…
    3 – Who say that the Bushman wants to spend his resources that way? maybe Bushie wants to invest in a radioactive protective suit..?

    Meanwhile, our friend Lowdown just steps into his bolted down container during the storm; ease back out afterwards -and rebuild his chattel house in a week for the $20,000 he had stashed in the container….

    …who is naive ?

    • @Bush Tea

      Surprise to read you positing such an illogical position. The example you gave is extreme indeed to justify an ‘anything goes’ building culture.

  6. @ David

    …careful how you jump to judgmental positions such as ‘illogical’.

    Technically, ‘logic’ is establish-able only after one has agreed on ontological and epistemological positions….. in other words, one mans meat may well be another man’s poison – (as we all know.)

    On what basis therefore do you assert that the common objective is for us all to live in indestructible homes? Where is that ontology established?
    ….. now if that is what YOU desire, feel free to say so and to establish that YOUR ‘logical’ position then is to have compulsory building codes and ‘no-tolerance’ standards.

    ….but what about the ‘Rastaman’ or bushman whose ontological position says that such things are only temporal and unimportant and that OTHER more important priorities need to be addressed… (like experiencing the ‘ights for Ras; and like refining moral and spiritual character for Bushie)

    …you mean that we HAVE to conform to YOUR meat…or else?

    • @Bush Tea

      Sorry for the tardy response but had to search the medicine cabinet for a Phensic after reading your last comment.

      To add to what Hants posted, BU’s position is anchored in the need to accept that national priorities must play a part.

      Who pays the final prize when an inferior housing stock is affected by bad weather, mild winds/earthquakes?

      Of course we are not referring to building houses to withstand >8 earthquake.

  7. @Bush Tea,
    You are missing the point.

    There are basic building construction practices that are not followed by unscrupulous contractors and workmen.

    You will still be able to put your chattel house on some softstones or concrete blocks but people who build a wall house should build a structure that meets a proven standard.

  8. @Bush Tea,

    Lowdown is an educated fella who has been able to live as he chose to.

    Most of us would not choose his lifestyle even though it is a great one.

    I hope he writes a book about agriculture.

    How many Bajans have enough land for a board house and a container as an emergency shelter?

  9. @David
    All I’m saying is that professionals need to act professionally whether or not a Code exists or is enforced. Integrity is doing the right thing even if no one is watching! I am all for Building Codes and was involved in developing a Code for Barbados over thirty years ago! Engineers have done fantastic work in Barbados over the years in the absence of a Building Code.

  10. 1. We will always have trouble as long as we give in to bullies.

    2. We must ALWAYS push back when a bully pushes us.

    3. And remember that a lawyer is only an expert on law and a doctor is only an expert on medicine. In everything eles the doctor is as ignorant or foolish as the average layman. And the engineers etc MISR assert thier authority over the doctor. PRofessional responsibility demands this.

    And if we want better results in the future do tis:

    Prevent those engineers etc. who allowed themselves to be bullied from ever practicing again.

  11. I have seen too many seriously compromised buildings built and all it would have taken was a few thousand more to correct the dangerous situation….
    Yes, there will be people that cannot afford to build houses to spec and they should not be encouraged to continue, unless supplemented or provided for to make their structures sound.
    Just think about how many public structures out there have been put up with little or no engineering input. ie. churches and places of business.

  12. @ Hants
    Which point is the Bushman missing…?

    ….and more importantly what is your point? …that Lowdown is able to live as he does because he is ‘educated’?
    Have you considered that ‘most of us would not live like Lowdown ‘ because ‘most of us’ are short sighted, simple minded, and more like his flock in mentality than like him…?

    Bushie thinks that that prolonged Canadian cold is getting to you Handsie muh boy!
    Do you know that there are some people who think that it is wasteful, selfish, destructive to the environment, arrogant and anti-social to take scarce resources to buy a big able BMW like yours, and then spend a fortune in gas – just so you can parade around Canada looking important?
    Do you think that they should be a standard that specifies that you be limited to, -say a Ford Focus – in the interest of the general good…?

    @ David

    LOL @ that phensic….
    ..don’t mind Hants hear? what public good what? You think he will dump that fancy BMW for the public good? ….and who says that the Government (public) has to pay the price when ‘inferior’ housing is destroyed by bad weather? ..if we behave like children who need a parent to bail us out of trouble, then perhaps we NEED to be told how and what to build etc…

    …but for those of us who are GROWN UP enough to stand on our own feet and take responsibility for our actions, we don’t need any ‘parents’ telling us what to do…

    Now to explain your REAL position for you (LOL)…. where some of us agree to constitute ourselves into an organized society, there becomes a need for organizational rules and regulations. (Ontology)

    IF and WHEN a society should decide on some types of standards, THEN one may argue that members of that society should then conform to those standards OR withdraw from the society….
    However, in situations where persons such as Bushie may have HIGHER CALLINGS that may conflict with the societies’ rules, do not expect that low level societal ontology will ever trump BT’s fundamental principles….

    Why would a wise person waste their time focusing on the establishment of permanence in a world where we are all known to be temporary – and where we always exists in a state of one instant from death?

    Careful analysis on your part may well establish that true ‘logic’ would likely lead us to ignore the whole question of housing altogether – and to focus on the ‘work of BBE’

    ….a famous man was crucified for doing exactly that- some time ago.

  13. @Bush Tea

    Understand the point you are making, it was never in doubt but your position on this matter seems to be contradicting earlier stated positions when you speak to moral degradation issues like homosexuality, lawlessness etc as far as societal rules vis a vis individual positions is concerned.

  14. Sorry to be confusing David. The reality is that everything depends on the perspective from which we are arguing.

    The Bushman’s position ‘as a Bajan’ for example, may be radically different to his position ‘as an individual’ on a particular matter.

    Similarly, if we are discussing a matter such as the financial crisis, one may take a strong position as to the cause , solution etc…. However, when viewed from the point of view of being one of BBE’s boys, this ‘crisis’ takes on a whole different perspective…. this is why it is important to establish up front, one’s ontological reference points.
    …besides which, the Bushman just enjoys upsetting some people’s apple cart…. LOL.

  15. It is very sad for me to say that I cannot trust anyone who calls themselves a professional these days. These days you have to get a 2nd and 3rd opinion in order to make a decision. We have been spiralling out of control a long time ago!

  16. If this is not consider to be fair comment then feel free to delete it.
    Now you mean to tell me that, all of these people working on that site became aware of what appeared to be a massive cave close to an occupied apartment complex, and not one of them ever thought it was their duty to alert the residents of said apartment complex.
    That said, why is there no focus on the obviously poorly constructed apartment building, which may have contributed more to the disaster than the preparatory construction work?

  17. What a pity that these Coroners Enquires, are noting more than a legal talk shop.Nothing ever come out of them. I remember one coroner speaking about a brand of vehicle that was a hazard on the road when rains falls, but stop short of naming the vehicle and making forceful recommendations. Then we had the case of the fireworks explosion in Collymore Rock, when the owner of the fireworks business admitted that he was in touch by cell phone with the guy who was neutralising the fireworks,but no one questioned the fact that a Cell Phone call could have triggered of the radio controlled fireworks,causing the disaster.

  18. If I use my money to build a card board house to live in well that is my money spent. But if I use my money to invest in a building that is made of card board so as to have other peoples live in it (even if they were in laws) well that is another matter all together. Commercial property should be subjected to rigorous codes and shit, whatever is required to protect the pubic from greedy, short cutting leaches and parasites… ja ja!

  19. Bushtea wrote “Do you know that there are some people who think that it is wasteful, selfish, destructive to the environment, arrogant and anti-social to take scarce resources to buy a big able (not a BMW but similar) like yours, and then spend a fortune in gas – just so you can parade around Canada looking important?”

    BushTea I believe I have already stated on BU that I am a “selfish arrogant bastard”. Also you can’t “look important” by driving a BMW (or the car I drive) in Canada.
    If you look like a bushman and drive a BMW you may “look” like an “important” drug

    As for Lowdown, you have to be intelligent and mentally tough to live his lifestyle successfully.Farming requires focus and dedication.
    Farmer,musician,writer. Interesting combination.

    BushTea are you a farmer too?

  20. LOL @ Hants
    BushTea I believe I have already stated on BU that I am a “selfish arrogant bastard”.
    LOL – You are a man after the bushman’s own heart…. Honest to a fault ROTFL.
    Sorry about the ‘Black Man’s Wheels’ accusation….. did not realize that you were a Benz man…. like bushie…

    With respect to “BushTea are you a farmer too?” …. yes – a micro farmer. BT is a jack of all trades….

  21. A building code has only become necessary because any and every one can now claim to be a builder. The problem comes when many people want big house like their neighbour but have limited finance
    so along come some-one who claims he/she can build the house to suit the money the owners have. What happens next is to get C class artisans and also reduced the size of the materials, the mixture of the concrete, the amount of steel used and any other cost saving measures, including 6″ blocks in place of 8″. I’ve seen many houses in Barbados that are ready to fall if struck by a Cat 1 hurricane. The only way to improve the quality of our housing stock is to have qualified, genuine and honest inspector checking on the project as it is constructed, a system similar to the GEED

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