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Arch Cot payout was avoidable

In the wake of the ruling delivered by Justice Sonia Richards earlier this month, an Opposition MP today lambasted Government over its failure to enter a defence in the Arch Cot lawsuit brought on behalf of the victims of the 2007 tragedy.

Warning that this failure was likely to cost the country millions, Symmonds said it was the latest example of the Freundel Stuart administration’s lacklustre approach to governance.

In her ruling, Justice Richards gave the ten claimants liberty to enter judgment against Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite for damages and costs to be agreed upon. This, after no defence was filed by Brathwaite, against whom the suit was filed as a representative of the Town & Country Planning Department.

Other defendants in the 2014 multi-million dollar lawsuit, filed by attorney-at-law David Comissiong on December 12, 2014, were attorney Lemuel Rawlins, who was responsible for building the apartment building; Dr Jerry Emtage; and Mahy Ridley Hazzard Engineers Ltd.

Comissiong, along with his colleague Kristin Turton, had filed for unspecified damages for bereavement, funeral expenses, guidance, care and companionship.

While parents and siblings of the adult victims Donavere and Cassandra Codrington were involved in the suit, the action was also taken on behalf of the three surviving children – Doniya, Doniko and Zavier – after the Codrington couple and three of their children died when their Brittons Hill, St Michael apartment collapsed.

Speaking during the final day of parliamentary debate on the 2016/2017 Estimates of Expenditure and Revenue, Symmonds contended that the likely payout by Government could have been avoided.

“The concerns that we have is that there is no room for the State to have to pay out more money now because a defence was not filed in the Arch Cot matter,” the St James Central representative told the House.

“Not that the jurisprudence was strong, and that is what won the matter at Arch Cot, but that the country is faced with a situation where with jurisprudence that has not been mitigated at all, a decision is made because no defence has been entered in a matter of substantial import where one would have expected better to be done,” Symmonds lamented.

“We do not feel comfortable with a state of affairs in which lethargy is treated as acceptable,” he added. (RB)

6 Responses to Arch Cot payout was avoidable

  1. Lawrence Griffith
    Lawrence Griffith March 19, 2016 at 8:03 am

    If NO defense was filled within the deadline, the case is won by the complaint and the remedy or damages should have been granted by the judge in the same judgement. Every penny they had asked for. If it was the other way around the judge wouldn’t have said a word but instead ruled against the defendant. All the cost should have been presented already, with only the attorneys cost to be presented…

  2. BaJan boy March 19, 2016 at 8:37 am

    This is the same Attorney General who now say a Prima facile case has been made because some one say that the house was mislead. These jokers need to go to work and do the work Bajans elected them to do.
    They are a bunch of lazy,indifferent careless and uncaring bunch.

  3. Tony Webster March 19, 2016 at 9:22 am

    @BajanBoy: “they area lazy, indifferent, careless, and uncaring bunch”. May I enter a plea of clarification: though they appear to have many and grievous sins, their greatest is merely forgetfulness: they forget standing, proudly, before His Excellency The Governor-General, placing hand on The Good Book, and swearing to do right by Constitution, God and all Bajans” . Conveniently. Not swearing…just the bit about forgetting.

    Makes me often swear too.

  4. J. Payne March 19, 2016 at 1:30 pm

    Dah ain’ nuffin new for de DEMS… Same ole foolishness wid them always got taxpayer’s money to waste because they don’t have to pay the bill.

  5. J. Payne March 19, 2016 at 1:47 pm

    “Froon” is who put the G.G. there. You honestly feel he would break with them bring them DEMS to account?

  6. Sunshine Sunny Shine March 20, 2016 at 12:59 am

    My problem with this is that the tax payers have to foot the bill while the persons responsible for permitting building on the troubled land go scot free. Other than that, if the families are now going to get their payday from the foolish behaviour of Fruendel Stuart crazy administration then so be it. One man’s folly is another man’s fun.


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