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Council meets Tuesday on ‘Stop Work’ order

By LAUREL V WILLIAMS Friday, April 25 2014

LOCAL Government Minister Marlene Coudray yesterday noted the council of the San Fernando City Corporation (SFCC) can take action to have someone perform the duties of the chief city engineer and sign the “Stop Work” notice to a company involved in excavation works in the southern city.

San Fernando Mayor Alderman Kazim Hosein on Wednesday told Newsday that based on information received, only the chief engineer of the corporation (Ramesh Sookdeo) was allowed to sign a stop work notice. However because Sookedo was abroad on vacation leave, it cannot be done, the mayor had added.

“The council can authorise someone to carry out the duties of the engineer. That is an amazing statement — that an engineer is out of the country and nothing is in place to carry on his duties. I do not see that position existing at all,” Coudray said.

She explained that she has been having discussions with the Energy Minister Kevin Ramnarine about the issue. She charged that officials at that Ministry were closely monitoring the issue.

“I too have been taking note of all the developments to ensure the public is not adversely affected by the operations,” the Minister said.

During the last two weeks, quarrying activities have been taking place behind the wholesale import and export business — Stackhouse Limited located at the base of the San Fernando Hill on Circular Road. In collaboration with the corporation, Town and Country Planning and the Environmental Management Authority (EMA), a decision was taken for the “stop work” notice to be issued to the company. The gravel from the hillside are stockpiled on an empty plot next to the Marabella Police Station located on the Southern Main Road.

The Minister added, “Where it is stored is one issue, and the removal of any more materials from the hill without proper procedure given by the minister is another. The minister told me that he did not sign any licences for the removal of materials from that hill.”

Hosein yesterday promised that the council will meet on Tuesday to discuss the way forward on the issue.

Also commenting on the issue deputy mayor Junia Regrello recalled that they had given Stackhouse the mandate to remove the stockpile at Marabella. Yesterday he said he communicated with officials at the EMA who indicated that the company would not be allowed to remove any materials from the stockpile while the investigation is taking place.

“Stackhouse is not to touch it unless EMA officials do their investigations and give their recommendations and finding. By tomorrow (today) I will contact them on the issues. One of the issues is to be determine to what extent the company went beyond the agreement. Another is if there was a specified period at which they were supposed to do their excavating, and if they went beyond that,” Regrello added.

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