Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 9th 2014 Contents A5
November 9, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
Former national heavyweight
boxer Wendell Joseph and his
wife Erica were yesterday given
keys to a new three-bedroom
home at Tarodale, San Fernando,
by Housing Minister Dr Roodal
Since September, Joseph, 68,
and his wife Erica, 56, who is
wheelchair-bound, have been
protesting while living on cots
under a tent in the Queen s Park
Joseph was one of 54 recipients
of new homes at a key distribu-
tion ceremony at the Housing
Development Corporation s
(HDC) head office in Port-of-
HDC s Managing Director Jear-
lean John said, "This is the sixth
time the HDC has allocated the
couple a home. He (Wendell)
should be in the Guinness Book
of Record. I am just hoping they
would go into their new place
and be happy."
Although the couple lived in
five other HDC homes, John said,
"it was made out as if the HDC
was not concerned and we had
no empathy, and the folks were
just in the savannah sitting down.
This is a pattern. We have news-
paper clippings from 1995 where
they sat right up at the President s
House. We have a whole record
on the Josephs. We have done
our best. Notwithstanding that,
we treated him with respect and
the dignity he deserved."
HDC has spent $50,000 to
retrofit the house to accommo-
date Erica s disability.
Doors were widened, safety
rails and ramp installed, toilet and
face basin relocated, switches and
electrical readjusted, as well as
the washroom was redesigned.
Asked if the Josephs were to
come back to HDC with another
complaint, John said, "He (Wen-
dell) might say the rent is too
much because in Embacadere
they were paying $100 a month."
Joseph, whose rent is now $800
a month, promised not to move
"This is it. I am finally going
to settle my roots here," Joseph
New HDC home for former boxer
MP for Caroni East Dr Tim
Gopeesingh has bashed the Environ-
mental Management Agency (EMA)
for granting a Certificate of Clearance
(CEC) to a company allegedly dump-
ing human waste into a ravine.
The residents in the small Kelly Vil-
lage community yesterday staged a
placard protest, calling for waste treat-
ment company Ragbar Company Ltd
to stop the alleged fecal dumping in
the nearby Macezine Ravine.
Gopeesingh, who met with the res-
idents yesterday, said he contacted
EMA chairman Dr Allan Bachan earlier
this year when residents came to him
for help. He said while Bachan prom-
ised to investigate the allegations of
dumping, the CEC was granted the
"I have been working with the team
of residents for the last year-and-a-
half to no avail. I have called (the EMA)
in the presence of the residents, the
chairman of the EMA on a particular
day and on the next day he issued the
CEC to the company," Goopeesingh
"He issued the CEC after there were
complaints by the residents."
The residents said aside from the
stench and the possible health hazards,
the roads and small bridge were also
damaged by the constant movement
of heavy trucks.
The company, owned by Ryan Rag-
bar, operates out of Curepe, but they
purchased the land in Herrera Trace,
Caroni, to establish a waste treatment
plant. Though the CEC notes that the
plant was expected to be completed
by February 2014, to date no major
construction work has been done on
Gopeesingh said subsequent to that
CEC approval, he made several
attempts to contact Bachan, but has
not been successful.
According to the EMA Web site,
CEC 4049/2013 was granted on July
Ragbar and Company applied for
clearance on October 30, 2013.
"It shows that the bureaucracy of
the system is extremely stifling, even
a minister of government cannot get
things done," Gopeesingh said.
One resident, Deochand Harrichan,
said the affected community got
together and had the water tested by
Cariri. He said those tests showed that
the ravine directly behind the business
contained elevated levels of fecal mat-
"We are saying that the EMA should
investigate and identify the source and
The residents also claimed that they
have been threatened with violence
and physical harm whenever they raise
concerns about the matter with the
workers or the owner of the company.
"...This is the sixth
time the HDC has
allocated the couple a
home...I am just
hoping they would go
into their new place
and be happy."
---Jearlean John, HDC
Gopeesingh wants EMA to act
Kelly Village residents claim fecal waste in ravine...
Ragbar, in a telephone interview
with the Sunday Guardian, denied
that his company dumps effluence in
the river. He confirmed that he does
own and operate a waste water
treatment company and plans to
establish one in the area.
"I have my CEC and that is the
bottom line," he said.
"Nothing is going into the river."
Ragbar also said that he does his
own testing and noted that two
miles further up the river, the waters
are even more polluted.
"All water courses contain some
form of fecal matter, the water
higher up the river was over 100
times as polluted as near the facility,"
Ragbar denied ever threatening
the residents, saying that he does
not even talk to anyone in the area.
"If I am doing something illegal,
then shut me down. I welcome the
EMA to come in any time and test
the river," he said.
Several attempts to reach Bachan
RAGBAR DENIES DUMPING
Kelly Village residents protest the dumping of sewage in a nearby
river yesterday. PHOTO: JEFF MAYERS
Former national heavyweight boxer Wendell Joseph receives keys to his new home at Tarodale, San Fernando, from
Housing Minister Dr Roodal Moonilal at Housing Development Corporation's head office, South Quay, Port-of-Spain,
yesterday. Chairman Rabindra Moonan, left, and managing director Jearlean John, right, looks on.
PHOTO: SHIRLEY BAHADUR
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