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Buildings ‘still unsafe’

Lisa King

Buildings ‘still unsafe’

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Four years after the deadly Campus Trendz Boutique fire on Tudor Street, Bridgetown, director of the September 3 Foundation, David Comissiong, says little has been done to fix substandard conditions in many commercial buildings across the island.

During a Press conference at the Clement Payne Cultural Centre on Crumpton Street, The City, yesterday to outline activities to mark the anniversary of the fire that claimed the lives of Shanna Griffith, Nikkita Belgrave, Pearl Cornelius, Tiffany Harding, Kellishaw Olivierre and Kelly Ann Welch, Comissiong said: “It was our assumption that even without asking for it, the authorities would have recognised that a particular kind of response was merited.”

The lack of proper fire escapes, the phenomenon of the one-door shops in Barbados and the lack of proper safety mechanisms were identified as ongoing problems, which Comissiong said he hoped would be addressed by the Town and Country Planning Department as new commercial buildings were developed.

However, he expressed concern about existing buildings and called on Government to put the necessary funding or assistance programmes in place to give building owners avenues to retrofit their properties.  

“If you have buildings that were not built according to those standards, then we are saying to them now to make the renovations to adhere to the new standards. There also needs to be a formal programme that provides funding, loans or assistance to building owners.”