Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 18th 2016 Contents SHARLENE RAMPERSAD
While tenants of the gutted Imperial Plaza, San
Fernando wait for fire prevention officers to com-
plete their investigation into the cause of Saturday s
million dollar blaze, the San Fernando Business
Association is calling on the Fire Service to get
their act in order.
President of the association, businesswoman
Daphne Bartlett, said while the response of the fire
officers themselves was commendable, the equipment
they have to work with was severly lacking.
"We had suggested they get longer hoses to be
able to pump water from the sea and they did come
with the hoses, but they were severly damaged and
spewing water every-which-way," Bartlett said.
"There was a 15-minute lull when they did not
have any water at all and nothing was happening,
in a city in this day and age, that is unacceptable."
"In times like this, the fire service needs to have
it s act in order, they need to carry out an audit on
their equipment to ensure everything is working and
they are not sending officers out with leaking hoses."
Bartlett said about eight years ago, the association
had met with then mayor businessman Kenneth Fer-
guson and raised the same complaints, to date,
nothing has changed.
"That is a situation we had addressed
about eight years ago with the then mayor
and our position remains the same. In San
Fernando we tend to always have a shortage of water
and we still have not been able to solve the water
problem. We had suggested that the fire service
check the hydrants on a weekly basis. The hydrants
usually have water, it is just to ensure that they are
Bartlett commended the fire officers for not letting
the fire spread to other buildings.
"The association congratulates and commends
the firemen for containing the fire and not letting
it spread. Our sympathies goes out to all the business
owners and employees who were affected."
Around 5pm on Saturday, fire broke out in the
basement area of the building, located on Lower
High Street, San Fernando destroying several business
places. The three-storey building housed 35 busi-
nesses, most of which were closed at the time.
The T&T Guardian visited the site of the fire on
Tuesday where businessman Rodney Abdool and
several of his employees were sorting through their
stocks to assess the damage.
Employees of Rant and Rave, a women s clothes
store, were removing smoke-damaged items of cloth-
ing from the store.
Abdool said while he is unsure of the faith of many
of the 100 employees of the plaza, his five employees
would be absorbed in his other branches.
"I have already made arrangements for them to
work in my other two stores, so they are not losing
their jobs," Abdool.
The T&T Guardian also contacted the Mon Repos
Fire Station s fire prevention department but an
officer said there was nothing to report, as the inves-
tigation is still ongoing.
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Thursday, February 18, 2016
Former attorney general Ramesh
Lawrence Maharaj says he will present evi-
dence tomorrow to prove his claim that a
court injunction by the National Gas Com-
pany (NGC) is affecting the operations of
seven companies and 800 workers.
Responding to NGC s full page media
release in the daily newspapers on Tuesday,
Maharaj said he intends to address workers
and their families at the Couva/Point Lisas
Chamber of Commerce.
According to a release from his office yes-
terday, he will reply to NGC s statement and
show factual evidence to support his claims.
The affected companies he listed were
Phoenix Welding and Fabricating Ltd, Quality
Refractory and Insulation Services Ltd, Point
Lisas Construction Ltd, JaniKing Ltd, Scaffold
Professional Ltd, Professional Coatings Ltd
and Prime Equipment Rentals Ltd.
During a media conference last week Fri-
day, Maharaj claimed that NGC s injunction,
assets valued up
until the hearing
tion of a civil
taken SIS to
court over the
of the Water
expected to be
NGC was using
other companies, which has adversely affected
He said the effects of this have threatened
the jobs of 800 workers and the banking
relations that exist among the companies.
It has also led to workers salaries and sup-
pliers payments not being honoured by bank.
However, NGC said that statements made
by Maharaj were reckless.
In the release in the daily newspapers
titled: NGC will defend its interest, the com-
pany views Maharaj statements as having
the effect of undermining the public s con-
fidence in NGC as a responsible State enter-
prise as well as financial institutions operating
NGC said their action does not threaten
the companies and its employees identified
by Maharaj as it has not interfered with their
NGC also stated that it has no control or
influence over the bank, third party entities
or any arm of the State.
They said they are a responsible corporate
citizen, guided by the rule of law.
must get act
Imperial Plaza fire:
---Sando business assoc
Maharaj said NGC
was using the
business. He said
the effects of this
the jobs of 800
workers and the
that exist among
the companies. It
has also led to
payments not being
honoured by bank.
However, NGC said
made by Maharaj
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