Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 11th 2016 Contents A8
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt September 11, 2016
Associate / Senior Associate
21st September 2016:
An elderly couple died in a fire
at their San Juan home yester-
The victims were identified as
Monica Alexander and her hus-
band, whose first name was not
available up to late last night.
According to reports, the fire
started at the couple s Laventille
Road, San Juan, home around 6
pm, trapping the couple inside.
Officers of the San Juan Fire
Station responded to the fire and
arrived at the scene within min-
utes. However, due to the terrain
the fire officers had difficulty
accessing the area.
It is believed the couple died
from smoke inhalation. The cause
of the blaze is still unknown.
Investigations are continuing.
Noel Garcia, the chairman of
the Urban Development Corpo-
ration of T&T (Udecott), has sig-
nalled his intention to sue the
three commissioners in the
enquiry into the construction of
the Las Alturas Towers.
Garcia claimed the report rec-
ommending that he be held
"accountable and liable" for the
losses incurred with the housing
development is "flawed"
On December 2, 2014, retired
justice Mustapha Ibrahim was
appointed chairman of the enquiry
with Dr Myron Wing-Sang Chin
and Anthony Farrell appointed as
On Friday the report on the
Commission of Enquiry into the
construction of the Las Alturas
housing project at Lady Young
Gardens, Morvant, was laid in Par-
The report filed by the trio stat-
ed, "There is no ground from
which we can advise that criminal
proceedings ought to be brought
However, the commission rec-
ommended that civil liability action
be taken against Udecott, its former
executive chairman Calder Hart,
the Housing Development Cor-
poration (HDC) and Garcia.
Garcia, who became the Udecott
chairman following the People s
National Movement s ascension to
Government last September, was
a former HDC managing director.
The enquiry s report stated he
gave a "very pathetic display in
the witness box."
"It was under his stewardship
that Buildings H and I were built
in an area unsuitable for develop-
ment and were earmarked to be
demolished. Several decisions taken
by him or in which he participated
leave much to be desired. His evi-
dence was very unsatisfactory in
many respects and decisions made
by him showed lack of proper
guidance and leadership which was
required to oversee the project,"
the report stated.
The report said Garcia should
be held accountable and liable for
the losses sustained by the HDC
when he was its managing direc-
tor.Speaking to the Sunday
Guardian yesterday, Garcia took
the commissioners to task.
"I would start off by saying that
I am surprised and amazed that
after taxpayers spent $24 million
to fund a Commission of Enquiry
that they could come up with such
a flawed report that at best could
be described as mischievous and
at worst politically motivated
because the report tries to paint
me as being responsible for the
construction of building H and I
while in fact I had long departed
the HDC," Garcia said.
Garcia said the records would
show that he left the HDC in June
2008 and that the Las Alturas proj-
ect started somewhere between
December 2008 and January 2009.
"That aspect of the project
(buildings H and I) was completed
somewhere in mid-2010 and the prob-
lems surfaced in 2011. How in heaven s
name could I show lack of leadership
on a project that I was not there for.
I was nowhere around," he said.
Garcia said the commission was
either being "mischievous or they are
He said the enquiry was a witchhunt
against Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley
who was housing minister at the time.
"It appears that they went after Dr
Rowley and when they could not get
Dr Rowley they came after me believing
that I am a soft target and they could
lick me up but I have news for them,
one I am going to file for judicial review
and two I am going to sue the com-
mission for damages," Garcia said.
"So I am going after them and in
some instances in their personal capac-
ities because you cannot abuse office
like the commission did. I mean the
records are there, I gave evidence and
one of the documents that was put into
evidence was a letter I signed on June
30 telling China Jiangsu (International
Corporation) that we agree with their
proposal and they can proceed to design
the building and the HDC staff will
look at the designs and we will move
forward," he said.
Garcia said he has to defend himself
from the commissioners attempt to
ridicule him publicly.
"If they are not mischievous they
had a motive and it is time that public
officials who carry different agendas,
I don t know what agenda they were
carrying, I don t know if they were
singing for their supper or if they col-
lected their pieces of silver and I intend
to go after them," Garcia said.
"I intend to make an example of the
chairman and the commissioners so I
am going after them in their own right
because what they are trying to do to
me is to damage me professionally, to
bring me into public ridicule and really
to lick me up because they somehow
believe that is their mission and if that
is their mission I have a duty to defend
myself and I will do it to the best of
my ability. So as I say stay tuned for
more action to come," he said.
Elderly couple dies in house fire
Garcia vows to sue Las Alturas commissioners
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