WITHOUT prejudice to the article entitled Grasping at Straws authored by Charles Arlington, and featured in the issue of The Weekend VOICE of 19th May, 2018, this writer responds accordingly.
What “struck me” about the article is Arlington’s clever connivance to embolden the VOICE Newspaper to present alternative facts about the Town hall Meeting of 11th May 2018, organised by the Vieux Fort Concerned Citizens Coalition for Change (VF4Cs) to which the Saint Lucia Medical and Dental Association (SLMDA) was invited to “among other things, share solutions and recommendations towards addressing the prevailing (healthcare) crisis.” This writer was also invited to address the audience.
Among the several defamatory claims made in his article, Arlington has insinuated that the St Jude Hospital] Reconstruction Project (SJHRP) is a product of Interisland Architects and Planners Ltd (IAPL). However, in responding to the “simple question” addressed to this writer in the article, the fact must be stated emphatically, that IAPL has never been involved with the SJHRP. Accordingly, IAPL has not contributed in any way whatsoever to “preparing the layout” or producing any construction drawings or documents for the Project.
That Arlington has referenced statements made in an interview by a General Contractor, to substantiate his claim that “tons or cubic metres of concrete were transported to the dump as a result of the continuous demolishing of walls based on inadequate information” is not only pathetic, but unwittingly ascribes credit to both the Project Design and the Project Manager.
It should go without saying, that any enhancements of the project designs during the construction phase and any resulting demolition of block walls and partitions, was tantamount to trying to achieve a better and more functional solution. In response therefore to Arlington’s question, he is urged to consider some of the facts surrounding the SJHRP:
- The Project entailed reconstruction of major components of the hospital facility, in the aftermath of the 2009 fire hazard;
- The project site was only handed over and made available for repairs after all forensic investigations were concluded and it was deemed safe for recovery and clean-up crew;
- It is also alleged that in 2010, the then Project Manager had disclosed that the presence of “asbestos material in the roofing of all structures” had compounded the recovery and reconstruction plans;
It is therefore conceivable that, unlike the construction of a new project on a new site, the SJHRP had involved a significant amount of demolition of heat-damaged and asbestos-contaminated masonry rubble, which had to be transferred to a designated landfill site, in a safe and controlled manner.
It was imperative therefore for the demolition exercise to be undertaken in a safe and controlled manner to ensure that the whole of the project site was not further compromised or contaminated;
This writer further understands that the on-site handling of, transportation of and disposal of the contaminated-material at the designated landfill site was orchestrated in a manner and at such specified times of day, to safeguard the health and well-being of all persons, including personnel on-site and members of the general public, as was stipulated by the authorities.
Trusting that Mr Arlington accepts the above from this writer, as responsive enough to his “simple question”, he can be assured that this writer would be happy to clarify any matter referred to in this post. Additionally, Mr Arlington can be assured that this writer has not shied away from any opportunity to “stand before any audience and offer any new advice as to the way forward” for this project.
Mr Arlington is further advised that this writer has since 23rd April, provided the SLMDA with a Technical Architectural Proposal to facilitate the transfer and commission of the operations of St Jude Hospital from the George Odlum National Stadium (GONS).
The Proposal was subsequently made public and went viral on 30th April 2018 after which, this writer participated in the following public forums:
- Press Conference with SLMDA on 25th April;
- SoLucians with Shayne Cherry on 7th May 2018
- VF4C’s Town hall Meeting with SLMDA on 11th May 2018;
- SoLucians with Shayne Cherry on 14th May 2018
- Can I Help You with Richard Frederick on 17th May 2018
In closing, and through you the Editor, this writer wishes to counsel Mr Arlington against rushing into any situation blindly hurling retort. Such action is not only reckless and irresponsible, but has very serious legal implications, not only for him under a pseudonym but also for his Publisher.., something which others associated with the SJHRP, may soon discover.
Be guided accordingly!
C Mark Hennecart
Director, Interisland Architects and Planners Ltd