MINISTER MARTIN MUM UNTIL FINAL REPORT ON BRIDGE COLLAPSE

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By Lesroy W. Williams

Observer Reporter

lesroywilliams@thestkittsnevisobserver.com

(Basseterre, St.Kitts)—The Hon. Earl Assim Martin, Minister of Public Works, Utilities, Transport and Postal Services, who until now has remained silent on the “full and thorough investigation into what went wrong” in the collapse of a bridge under construction along the west bypass road near the Robert Llewellyn Bradshaw Airport said in an interview with The St.Kitts-Nevis Observer that he will remain silent on the matter until a final report is furnished.

“I will choose to speak at the appropriate time and I will not be prompted to speak until the final report is presented to my Permanent Secretary,” Minister Martin declared.

At his monthly press conference on July 9, Prime Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas mentioned that the Minister of Public works told Cabinet that a preliminary report into the bridge collapse was submitted to him. However, Minister Martin has refused to comment on the preliminary report saying that he prefers to wait on the final report because he doesn’t want information to be muddied or misconstrued by the general public.

“One thing that I can say is that there was some element of surprise that the bridge had collapsed because I understand (from an engineering standpoint) that the props or whatever they call them…were more than adequate. But I understand further that maybe it was the pouring and distribution of concrete, the rate of pouring and the rate of spreading that could have led to the collapse,” Douglas said at his monthly press conference.

Minister Martin said the final report into the collapse will soon be ready. He declined to comment on who was carrying out the investigation, choosing rather to say that that information will be in the final report.

“I wonder whether the muted response to a fiasco of this magnitude was because our public has become so saturated with pain that one more degree yields diminishing returns in its response. Or perhaps it is because the victim of the fatality was a St. Vincentian and the other seriously injured victims were Guyanese. Perhaps if they were Kittitians there would be a greater show of collective emotion over the tragedy which snuffed out a life and seriously injured others,” Mr. Washington Archibald, columnist for The Observer, said in a May 23 article entitled “Inexcusable Incompetence.”

The Bridge Collapse killed Vincentian national Allick Toney, 64, and injured Guyanese nationals Ian ‘Shatta’ Warde and Murtland “Pace” Watterton on May 14.

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