Guyanese Falls to Death on Construction Site

By Stanford Conway

The Observer

A Guyanese construction worker fell to his death last week Tuesday afternoon while working on a dormitory at Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine.

Colin Corlette, 26, a carpenter employed by Trinidad-based construction company, Moorjani Caribbean Limited, met his tragic death after falling some 21 feet to the ground.

An autopsy report revealed that death was due to multiple fractures of the skull, neck, spine, ribs and one of his legs.

The Observer learned that Corlette and another Guyanese were atop a plywood foundation along with Bhooraj, their supervisor, taking instructions from him concerning measurements for construction of a platform on the third floor of a dormitory.

“While Colin and the other Guyanese were taking instructions from Bhooraj, the plywood foundation collapsed causing two of them to fall.  Colin first fell to the ground, face down, and Bhooraj landed on top of him,” said an employee.

He added that the other Guyanese held on to the steel stairway of the building and got to safety after climbing on to a scaffold some three below.

His statement was confirmed by the other Guyanese who claimed that he observed when Bhooraj fell atop Corlette before crawling under the stairway of the building where he lost consciousness.

He noted that the area on which the two Guyanese fell had a soft mixture of stones, sand and cement and Corlette’s face was partly buried in it.

“Just before the ambulance arrived, Colin appeared to be panting for breath.  His face was badly damaged and blood was oozing from his mouth and ears,” he added.

Both Guyanese were taken to the Joseph N France General Hospital where Corlette was pronounced dead on arrival.

Bhooraj was admitted to the hospital, treated for minor injuries and discharged three days later.

Corlette’s sister, Suzette, a resident of Basseterre, was distraught on learning of her brother’s death.

“My cousin called and told me that Colin was involved in an accident but he did not say how serious it was and I only knew the gravity of the situation upon arrival at the hospital,” Suzette said.

Suzette noted that on arrival at the hospital a doctor told her to be seated and shortly after broke the sad news of her brother’s death.

“I was shocked and dumbfounded upon seeing Colin lying motionless…a dead man.  I did not even had the opportunity to talk to him before he drew his last breath.  He was my favourite brother, the sixth child of my parents.  Sunday was the last day I saw him alive in which time he visited my home where we ate lunch and held a lengthy discussion about our future plans.  It is so sad to know that we can no longer have happy times together,” said the distraught sister.

Corlette’s remains were flown home to Guyana last Monday evening and burial will take place on Wednesday, November 16.

A memorial service was held for him at the New Testament Church of God in Basseterre last Sunday.

Meanwhile, the Guyanese community in the twin-island Federation is asking a number of questions about Corlette’s death.

One member wants to know what benefits his dependants were entitled and is strongly suggesting the local authorities launch an investigation into his death to find out if there were violations to industrial safety regulations.

The member noted that construction for high platforms must always be supported by sturdy stilts and or jacks placed upon a solid structure.

Colin, who was residing in Central Street, Basseterre, is the son of Cecilia and George Corlette of Lancaster Village, Corentyne, Berbice, Guyana.

This is the second industrial accident to have occurred in St. Kitts over a nine-day period.

It was reported that a Santo Domingo citizen and employee of CONTEC, Carlos Manuel Vantelpool-Concepcion, died on the spot around 3 p.m. on Monday, October 31 after he was allegedly struck on the head by the rear end of a boom, which snapped from a crane while unloading a container at the company’s quarry in Canada Estate.

A memorial service was held in his honour at Jenkins Funeral Home last Wednesday shortly before his remains were flown out of the country for burial in his hometown, San Pedro, Santo Domingo.