Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 24th 2015 Contents A5
January 24, 2016 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
Under the noses of security
guards, hundreds of thousands of
dollars worth in fittings and fixtures
at the controversial Brian Lara Sta-
dium in Tarouba have been carted
away by bandits.
Among the items stolen were gal-
lons of paint, air condition units,
rolls of electrical wires, amplifiers,
lengths of copper pipe lines and
The thieves operated at night by
gaining entry at the back of the
pitch-black academy, which is sur-
rounded by tall trees and towering
The Sunday Guardian team learnt
of the theft from anonymous
sources, after the team was allowed
to enter the stadium by lax security
guards of Paragon Protection Con-
sultants Ltd without being ques-
tioned or asked to show any iden-
But Yashmid Ellis Karamath, exec-
utive chairman of Hafeez Karamath
Ltd (HKL), the main contractor of
the sporting facility, is refusing to
accept blame for the wanton theft.
"I am not responsible for the
stolen items," Karamath insisted yes-
In 2005, HKL was awarded the
contract for the stadium by the
Urban Development Corporation of
T&T (Udecott), which was scheduled
to be completed by 2007 in time for
the ICC Cricket World Cup at an
initial cost estimate of $275 million.
However, the cost of the stadium
ballooned to $885 million with several
delays, which resulted in the project
being halted in 2010 by Udecott.
Up to that time, Karamath said,
he had two security firms---Thor
Security Services Ltd and a canine
unit called Man Stoppers that
secured the sites and its materials.
Karamath: I am not responsible
But when he was asked to vacate
the premises, "I told them (Udecott)
if I do that I would no longer be
responsible for anything," Karamath
Karamath said it was difficult to
quantify the losses incurred.
"I have no idea what was stolen,"
Karamath said, refusing to elaborate
further on the issue.
The fixtures and fittings, pur-
chased by HKL, were placed in sev-
eral rooms inside the facility, which
were targeted by thieves.
The locks on many of the steel-
plated doors where the items were
stored were cut open.
Two roomfuls of electrical wires
were pilfered of copper strands, while
lengths of wires attached to several
electrical panel boxes were snipped
Yesterday, chairman of Udecott
Noel Garcia confirmed the theft had
occurred from 2010 to 2015, but he
could not put a value on the fixtures
"I don t know. I know the copper
wire would be pretty expensive. Van-
dalism of copper wire is through-
out...they vandalised a lot of TSTT
and T&TEC s lines. It s almost like
some kind of organised ring," Garcia
He said due to poor security at
the cricket academy "people say it
was a free for all. I have put a stop
to all the Carnival fetes that were
held in the car park and the drag
racing. Once you have people on the
stadium anything could happen. You
would open the flood gates."
Garcia: It was just craziness
When Garcia toured the stadium
with batting star Brian Lara last
November, he said he heard "there
was a fair amount of vandalism...that
people had stolen fixtures and elec-
trical wires and so forth.
"Yes, you are right, people did in
fact vandalise and steal fixtures from
the Brian Lara Stadium. It was just
craziness. They stole the wires and
air condition equipment.
"When people say that we should
leave the stadium and not fix it they
have to be crazy because what would
eventually happen, people...would
steal out everything."
Under the new board at Udecott,
Garcia said, security measures were
put in place "to ensure that there is
no reoccurrence of what happened
in the past with the stealing. Since
November we have not had one inci-
dent of theft."
Among the measures were the
beefing up of security guards, an
increase in mobile patrols and illu-
minating a portion of the stadium.
He said for years the stadium
remained in darkness.
Next month, Garcia said, refur-
bishment work on the stadium
would resume, which was expected
to cost taxpayers $90 million.
"The work will go on."
Garcia said for the Sunday
Guardian to gain entry into the sta-
dium without producing an identi-
fication showed that "security was
lax. I would take steps to investigate
Asked if the contractor or Udecott
would be held accountable for the
stolen items, Garcia said: "To be
frank, I really don t know that."
Garcia said Udecott and HKL were
now locked in a legal battle over the
project and so he preferred not to
A security officer who identified
herself as Geohajan at Paragon Pro-
tection Consultants Ltd said the
owner of the establishment "Mr
Rezendie" was not in office and she
would pass on our concerns to him.
However, up to press time
Rezendie had not returned our call.
(See Pages A10, A11)
Hundreds of thousands worth of fittings missing
out of control'
In 2009, the structural
steelwork on the stadium was
condemned according to a report
into the Udecott project
prepared by Gerry McCaffrey,
the construction expert hired by
the Uff Commission of Enquiry.
McCaffrey's initial report into
the project revealed that HKL
ignored 300 "stop orders" for
work on the project.
Chairman of the commission
of enquiry into Udecott,
Professor John Uff, QC,
described the Brian Lara project
as "nothing short of scandalous"
and "out of control."
Remains of electrical wires destroyed by thieves.
Weather-beaten and cracked chairs in the pavilion of the Brian Lara
Stadium in Tarouba. PHOTOS: RISHI RAGOONATH
Thieves cart off materials
from Brian Lara Stadium
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