42 street lamps seized
By CECILY ASSON Friday, September 13 2013
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Flashback: Patrons enjoy using kayaks at Harry's Waterpark, Rio Claro. File photo ...
A CONTRACT employee from the TT Electricity Commission’s (TTEC) Public Street Lighting Department is under internal investigation following the removal of 42 street lamps, which according to sources, were illegally installed on the compound of Harry’s Water Park in Tabaquite Road, Rio Claro.
The estimated cost of the lamps has been put at $50,400. On Wednesday, TTEC workmen backed by a contingent of police officers removed three illegal connections on the property during an eight-hour exercise which began at 9.30 am, Newsday was told.
The popular recreation spot which sits on 30 acres of land and has running water, electricity and carat sheds, provides to the public activities such as outdoor cooking, boat rides, kayaking, swimming pools, water slides and a wildlife park.
Newsday learnt that the meter readings at the park were not consistent with the amount of lights installed on the compound and as a result thousands of dollars worth of revenue that ought to have gone into TTEC’s coffers, were lost.
Officials from TTEC’s Meter Reading Department also observed that some of the lamps were directly connected to low voltage lines, an act which TTEC sources described as illegal. Old street lamps which were on the compound were replaced by new ones, Newsday was further told. The average cost of one lamp is $1,200. According to a police report, a team of police officers from TTEC’s Tactical Response Unit of Port-of-Spain, Central, and Southern Divisions and officers from the Rio Claro Police Station swooped down on the park where they executed a search warrant for alleged stolen street lamps. During the exercise, officers said, it was observed that there were also illegal connections on the compound. The officers proceeded to remove the lamps and disconnect the illegal connections.
Charges are yet to be laid against anyone.
Annabelle Brasnell of TTEC’s Communications Department confirmed Wednesday’s exercise saying that investigations are still ongoing. Brasnell told Newsday, “We went to Harry’s Water Park under the supervision of the national police to execute a search warrant for alleged stolen lamps. While we were there we observed there were lines connected to our lines that were not metered and so we proceeded to remove 42 lamps and the apparent illegal connections were disconnected.”
Brasnell further said no charges have been laid and investigations into the illegal acts are continuing. When contacted yesterday, owner of Harry’s Water Park, Harrypersad Ragoonanan told Newsday all his installations were indeed “legal” and “metered” and his business has been in no way affected by TTEC’s action since he has other private lighting on the compound.
Ragoonanan said the street lamps removed had been purchased from a TTEC contractor, “to put in the park.”
“What they removed is what TTEC hooked up for me,” Ragoonanan said. “The park has not been affected because we purchased lights from (company name called) too, so we still have lights on the compound.” Ragoonanan denied reports of illegal electrical connections on his property saying that all his connections on his property are metered.
“I not in trouble with TTEC, we still have current and everything,” he added. Two years ago Ragoonanan was taken to court by the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) to answer charges of making an illegal water connection from the utility’s 16” main at the Tabaquite facility.
It was reported that an illegal two-inch PVC line was connected to a 16-inch transmission main as well as a four-inch washout valve tapped directly into a WASA transmission main which was channelled, via gravity directly into the water park. They also found evidence of tampering with respect to its four-inch washout valve located off a 12-inch PVC main close to the park.