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‘Make it clear’

Trevor yearwood

‘Make it clear’

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THE TOWN PLANNING DEPARTMENT has been asked to clarify whether the ill-fated Arch Cot, Brittons Hill area is a no-build region and the its own history of action there.
The request was made by Coroner Faith Marshall-Harris yesterday after a near hour-long visit to the area where in August 2007 three children and two adults were killed when their home collapsed into a cave.
Addressing a group including Chief Town Planner Mark Cummins, lawyers, friends and relatives of the deceased in her Roebuck Street, St Michael court, Marshall-Harris said “it seems as if, historically, there were conditions applied to the land” in Arch Cot and there were “a lot of things” that were not permitted in that area.
There had to be some records or general guidelines in the Town Planning Department related to the policy on building, as well as on the department’s own actions in the district, she said.
She was commenting on a request by lawyer David Comissiong, representing two of the victims, for “a history of the planning permission” in the area, “particularly with reference to the existence of caves”.
The court heard from lawyers that there was at least one document showing  “a restrictive covenant against building in the area” in 1968.
The Chief Town Planner told Marshall-Harris he was not aware of a written policy “which specifically states” there was any restriction on building, but he would act on the court’s request.
These developments capped a day in which the coroner, lawyers and friends and relatives of the deceased went to Arch Cot.
They were accompanied by some Barbados Defence Force (BDF) personnel who rendered help in the aftermath of the tragedy, as well as people who had lived at Arch Cot.
The Coroner said the visit had been important in helping her to get a clearer picture of developments in the area.
However, she said she would have to get the Ministry of Transport and Works to clear a tree-covered area near the mouth of the cave system into which the home had collapsed.
This was important, she said, in helping her tackle the issue of whether there was a connection between any excavation done in the area and the cave-in.
The inquest is into the deaths of Donavere Codrington, 30; his wife Cassandra, 27; and their three children, seven-year-old Shaquanda, three-year-old Shaquille and one-year-old Yashiro.
The bodies of the five were retrieved from under the rubble of the two-storey apartment they had moved into only two weeks earlier.
In October, the court heard that some excavation work was going on in the district prior to the collapse of the apartment.
This was in connection with an office complex urologist Dr Jerry Emtage was building. Emtage told the court then that when the construction team discovered a gaping hole, all heavy work was stopped, equipment removed and an investigation commenced.(TY)

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