Summons for Cadiz, Cato
By SASHA HARRINANAN Wednesday, October 16 2013
A SUMMONS has been issued for Transport Minister Stephen Cadiz, that ministry’s acting Permanent Secretary Verna Johnson and Transport Commissioner Rueben Cato, to appear before a Port-of-Spain magistrate.
News of the summons came yesterday from president of the Public Services Association (PSA) Watson Duke, who spoke with reporters during a “spot check” visit to the San Fernando office of the Licensing Department.
“Since December 2012, the fire authority issued instructions to the Transport Commissioner advising him on what he needed to do to receive a fire certificate. The building’s at the Licensing Department’s Wrightson Road, Port-of-Spain office are unsafe. Yet almost 11 months later, nothing has been done.
“That’s why on Monday, based on the advice of our attorney Senior Counsel Dana Seetahal, the PSA approached the PoS Magistrate’s Court and received a summons which will be served upon Cadiz, Johnson and Cato by a police officer,” Duke said.
Duke told Newsday the summons was issued based on Section 26:2 of the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act, which he said states that all industrial establishment should be certified by a fire authority every 24 months.
“If the establishment is used without a certificate, the occupier commits an offence and is liable upon conviction to six months in prison, a $10,000 fine and must pay $1,000 for each day the Act was violated. That’s why we took the ministry to court, because it must be held accountable for the lack of a fire certificate at Wrightson Road.”
Speaking with Newsday yesterday evening, Cadiz said he was not aware of any summons and would respond accordingly if and when he receives one.
“We have been very proactive since this situation came up last week Tuesday,” Cadiz declared. “In fact, just today CARIRI (Caribbean Industrial Research Institute) submitted its report on the asbestos tests. There is absolutely no asbestos in the buildings on Wrightson Road.”
Asked about the lack of a fire certificate, the Transport Minister said an order was placed yesterday for additional fire extinguishers, which the Fire Services said were necessary to meet OSHA standards. He said these should be installed sometime today.
Unlike the previous five working days, yesterday an estimated 75 percent of Wrightson Road staff reported to work. President of the TT Automotive Dealers’ Association (TTADA) Visham Babwah, was among those who were able to have their vehicles inspected and collect certified copies of ownership.
“They worked until about 2 pm and it was really good to get long overdue paperwork processed. Customers have been waiting weeks now for their cars and roll on roll off dealers can only absorb so much expense for rent at the Port of PoS while this “strike” was in effect. I hope Monday was the last day,” Babwah stated.