Residents of Ribishi, where heavy rains last weekend caused a retaining wall at the construction site of a recreational facility to collapse, say they are angry over the allegedly poor engineering and construction that went into the wall.
The wall, approximately 250 feet long and about 20 feet tall collapsed on Sunday after heavy rainfall.
On Thursday, SEARCHLIGHT visited the facility where nine residents of the area were surveying the scene and expressing disappointment with the design and construction of the wall which was expected to stabilize the area where a playing field is being built.
The residents, some of whom work in the construction industry, expressed disappointment, noting that the material and design of the wall were ill conceived, from what they were observing.
“This cannot be a blocks wall to retain this amount of dirt. A blocks wall cannot retain this. This needed a reinforced concrete wall. Have to. No if, no buts, no maybe. You’re crazy…,” one man said on the condition of anonymity, while noting that Rabacca stones should have been used to strengthen the structure apart from several other construction techniques.
He said buttresses should have also been used to stabilize the wall.
Another resident said, “poorly constructed” while noting that it was a lucky thing that there were no houses or people in the area where the wall collapsed.
One resident was also of the view that another wall located on the main road, opposite the one that collapsed is also in danger of collapsing because of the material used.
On Thursday, Minister of Finance Camillo Gonsalves who is also the East Saint George (ESG) area representative said he visited the site on Monday with a senior engineer from the Ministry of Works.
He said based on the engineer’s preliminary assessment, there appears to have been shortcomings in the design or construction of the wall.
The finance minister said also that the Ministry of Works is doing further analysis on that wall, and another wall just below the road that was constructed at the site.
“While the project was being built and supervised by the National Lotteries Authority, I have asked that the engineers at the Ministry of Works take over the analysis of what went wrong, and also provide designs and supervision for the replacement wall.
“Given the precarious situation of the current debris, we have urgently contracted with a private sector entity to demolish and remove the parts that collapsed,” Gonsalves told SEARCHLIGHT.
He noted also that as soon as engineers from the Ministry of Transport and Works have completed the analysis and redesigns, the construction of an adequate back wall will be expedited.
“It is too early to say if the failures were based on bad design, bad construction, or a combination of the two. We will learn that it the coming weeks.
“While the completion date on the project will be pushed back, everyone remains committed to delivering a quality recreational facility that can serve the youth of the neighboring communities,” the Finance Minister said.
In January, SVG’s Consul General to Canada Fitz Huggins had, in a social media post, praised the initiative to build a playing field in the area.
“Big up my rep Camillo Gonsalves for quietly achieving and making major advances in East St George.
“For years the young men in the Fairhall Choppins area played on this lopsided field, but some levelling, increased playing surface and wash room facilities are going to be the new features of this facility soon. How come more of us don’t cover good news?” Huggins wrote.
SEARCHLIGHT was not able to ascertain who were the contractor and engineer that worked on the wall.