September 23, 2014
Government won’t ‘duck responsibility’ – PM

The Prime Minister is assuring residents of the government housing development at Clare Valley that his government will do its utmost to rectify the faults that caused one of the houses to collapse last Friday afternoon.{{more}}

Speaking on WE FM’s Shake Up radio programme yesterday, September 22, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves said that he and officials from the relevant Ministries and the Housing and Land Development Corporation (HLDC) will be addressing this matter with “urgency.”

“I don’t know how many of the houses have been affected, but… whatever the number, the necessary corrective work would be done by the Government,” he affirmed.

“The Government will not duck any responsibility,” he continued. “We will not do like… at least one government in the past… which caused a lot of problems in a particular area – Gibson Corner. They wanted to cover up their responsibilities; we don’t function like that at all.”

According to the Prime Minister, a preliminary report, submitted by chief engineer Brent Bailey points to three main problems being at the root of the incident: the clay-like structure of the soil in that particular area; the foundation columns not being placed as deep as they should have been; and poor drainage on the housing estate that “compromised the integrity of the dwelling.”

The Prime Minister said that all concerned parties will move forward in conducting a preliminary re-assessment, a complete assessment, a scientific assessment, and costing of ensuing remedial work.

He explained that these steps will allow him to find out the nature of the problem at hand, how many other houses have the same problem, and what it will cost the Government to rectify.

“Correctives will be done,” he stated. “They must be done [based] on scientific analysis, must be done urgently, and the persons must be given the reassurance that this matter will be dealt with, not in a bureaucratic way, but in a practical, hands on manner.”

Gonsalves also called on staff at the HLDC to be “proactive and sensitive to the concerns of the people.”

“I don’t want to hear… that any official of the HLDC has said anything which may appear as though he or she is not viewing this matter with utmost seriousness or don’t [doesn’t] have any sensitivity towards the people.”

The three-bedroom house that collapsed last Friday belongs to medical doctor Katisha Douglas, who luckily was not at home at the time the incident occurred. She had occupied the house for approximately 18 months. (JSV)