Letter of the Day | Local experts must oversee hotel worksites
THE EDITOR, Sir:
The Construction Industry Council (CIC) is gravely concerned about the occurrence of yet another collapse of part of a hotel under construction in Jamaica and the subsequent injury suffered by the workers on site.
The structural failure and partial collapse of part of the Blue Diamond Royalton Hotel in Negril, Hanover, must not be another nine-day story. This is not the first time that such an incident (including injuries and fatalities to workers) has occurred at a hotel construction site, where, it appears, foreign construction professionals and/or managers have been allowed to operate exclusively.
Of major concern to the CIC is that despite what appears to be a preponderance of evidence that the contractor had clearly flaunted the Parish Council's regulations, that, to date, the holder of the permit to construct the hotel, BBHN Resorts Limited; the contractors, or developers have not been required to answer to the relevant authorities for these serious breaches.
What is clear is that despite receiving two warning notices to cease and desist, the contractor persisted with works on site and may even have been aided and abetted by our own local authorities, who, at first, turned a blind eye and:
(i) permitted work to commence prior to receiving all the documentation necessary to certify that the proposed works were safe and could be constructed,
(ii) later, once breaches were discovered, failed to demand that the non-compliant contractor cease work immediately.
In light of the comment made by the mayor of Lucea to the press that "... apart from a few irregularities which were corrected, the council was satisfied that the building was built to specification" may now appear to be considered vacuous.
It is the CIC's opinion that the law should impose a responsibility, equitably, on all developers and building contractors to ensure that all workers on site operate in a safe environment in which risks of injury are minimised. Where a responsible party fails in his duty, he should then be held culpable.
The hope of the CIC is that not only will the minister ensure that there is compliance with the existing development orders and building codes, but that he will further insist that our local authorities will require all overseas developers seeking to carry out construction work in Jamaica to obtain the involvement of the relevant local professionals required to ensure that all the necessary local codes and regulations are strictly adhered to.
Correcting the anomalies that currently exist in the approval and monitoring processes will be a true indication of the Government's resolve to ensure there is no recurrence.