Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 9th 2015 Contents ANNA-LISA PAUL
A scene resembling something from
an "apocalypse movie" was how lead
attorney for the Housing Development
Corporation (HDC), Queen s Counsel
Vincent Nelson, yesterday described
the site of the Las Alturas housing proj-
ect at Lady Young Road, Morvant.
Delivering the cryptic comment at
the end of the second evidentiary hearing
of the Commission of Enquiry appointed
to investigate the circumstances leading
to and the eventual construction of sev-
eral multi-storey apartment buildings
at the location, Nelson said it was "quite
a sight to see."
Supportive of the recommendation
that a site visit would assist those par-
ticipating in the enquiry, to better under-
stand and contextualise the evidence
presented thus far, Nelson said one would
be able to detect where the slope failure
began, as well as the dangerous position
of the remaining buildings, the area
where the retaining wall was built, the
underpinnings which had been drilled
beneath the demolished buildings and
other infrastructural and developmental
The date of the site visit will be deter-
mined when the third evidentiary session
begins on May 4, at the Caribbean Court
of Justice, Henry Street, Port-of-Spain.
Yesterday s session concluded by 11
am as the HDC s second expert witness,
structural engineer Jon J Kangos, was
cross-examined by attorney Emerson
John-Charles who is appearing on behalf
of Civil Engineering Management and
Services (CEMAS) and Steve Kistow
Admitting that he had submitted a
statement confirming that the reinforced
concrete super-structures at the site
had been "adequately built," Kangos
sought to make clear that this opinion
had been formed prior to examining the
"un-cracked structure," and before there
was any evidence of "geotechnical dis-
tress at the site."
Following questions from commis-
sioner Anthony Farrell, who is a civil
engineer by profession, Kangos said his
calculations pertaining to the buildings
earthquake preparedness were based on
geotechnical and geographical informa-
tion provided to him at the time.
Unable to say what factors were used
to determine that information, Kangos
said he found the buildings were
"acceptable as constructed."
Taking the witness stand immediately
after Kangos, was Dr Robert Tibor Ratay,
a forensic structural engineer from New
York, who was employed by the HDC
to head the specialised team of experts
in 2011 to assess the site after problems
began to occur.
Kangos, who is employed with
Severud Associates Consulting Engineers
of New York, along with geotechnical
engineer Francis J Arland of Mueser
Rutledge Consulting Engineers (MRCE)
of New York, formed part of the team
Producing a copy of an unsigned con-
tract between himself and the HDC yes-
terday---which had been endorsed by
Jearlean John who was named as the
managing director of the HDC at the
time---Ratay said he believed the HDC
and government were one and the same
referred to in the contract, in which
there were provisions for compensation
in the event his services were terminated
before the stipulated period.
Initially estimated to cost approxi-
mately US$100,000, Ratay admitted
under cross-examination by attorney
Justin Phelps that the price-tag for his
services skyrocketed to US$300,000 as
the scope of works increased.
Phelps is representing Geotech Asso-
ciates Limited (GA), the firm which was
employed to conduct geotechnical tests
at the site.
Unaware of how much was actually
paid to the entire team as all members
were paid separately, Ratay testified that
he was in fact paid more than the original
figure of $100,000, but less than
Ratay confirmed that during his first
visit to T&T in 2011, he met "everybody"
associated with the project.
Returning to T&T in 2012, accom-
panied by Arland, Ratay said he remem-
bered meeting with officials of the Joint
Consultative Council but was unable to
remember if former president Winston
Riley was present at the meeting at the
Riley, who is the chairman of Planning
Associates Limited (PAL), has already
appeared before the Commission.
Riley testified that shortly after report-
ing the structural issues which threatened
to derail the project, his company s serv-
ices were terminated by the Urban
Development Corporation of T&T (Ude-
cott) which then hired Civil Engineering
Management and Services (CEMAS).
Riley said PAL had informed Udecott
of issues with the contractor China
Jiangsu International Corp of T&T Ltd
(CJIC) before it eventually signed a con-
tract for the project.
It is expected that during the site visit
which will be done during the next ses-
sion in May, HDC s senior engineer Gor-
don Reddon; Udecott s project engineer
Atiba de Souza; Trintoplan engineer
Andrea Claire Abel; PAL s project engi-
neer Trevor De Landro; and geotechnical
engineer Derek Gay will accompany the
commissioners and attorneys.
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Thursday, April 9, 2015
QC: Las Alturas like 'apocalypse'
Attorneys for the Commission
include Pamela Elder, SC, and
Jagdeo Singh, both of whom are
instructed by Alvin Pariagsingh.
Appearing on behalf of the HDC
are Vincent Nelson, QC, and Larry
Richard Mason and Jehan
Mohammed, along with Faydia
Mohammed and Brendon Sullivan,
are appearing for Udecott.
Attorney Justin Phelps is
appearing alongside Jerome
Herrera, both instructed by
Anabelle Sooklal for Geotech
Associates Limited (GA), whereas
Emerson John-Charles and
Zenobia Campbell-James are
appearing on behalf of Civil
Engineering Management and
Services (CEMAS) and Steve
Kistow Engineering Services.
Lead attorney for the Commission of Enquiry into the Las Alturas housing project, Pamela Elder, SC, speaks
to the HDC's attorneys Vincent Nelson, QC, left, and Larry Lalla at the close of the second evidentary hearing
at the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), Henry Street, Port-of-Spain, yesterday.
BG International Limited proposes to drill up to two (2)
exploration wells within the East Coast Marine Area,
located o shore Trinidad.
In keeping with the Certi cate of Environmental
Clearance (CEC) process, a second public consultation
will be held to provide feedback on the Environmental
Impact Assessment (EIA) and respond to any queries.
Date: Thursday 16 April, 2015
Time: 6:00 pm
Venue: bpTT Resource Centre, Mayaro
Links Archive April 8th 2015 April 10th 2015 Navigation Previous Page Next Page