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Eustace has raised questions about the safety and value of the houses. (IWN photo)
Eustace has raised questions about the safety and value of the houses. (IWN photo)
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Minister of State in the Ministry of Works, Sen. Julian Francis says that tile workers who did substandard work on the Clare Valley Housing project, where a house collapsed last month, will be blacklisted.

Among homeowners’ complaints that have become public since the collapse of a house in the government’s housing scheme , is the problem of tiles “popping” off floors, and falling off bathroom walls.

“I went into [a homeowner’s house] and when he showed me his tiles, I called Beresford immediately. I said, Beresford, please get me the list of all the tile workers who work on Clare Valley. Those who did not give us proper workmanship will be blacklisted. Because I cannot take these tile men and put them to repair your house, because the same thing will happen,” Francis, who was Minister of Housing when most of the houses were built, said, recounting a conversation with chair of the Housing and Land Development Corporation (HLDC), Beresford Phillips.

“I hear a lady say when she tap she hear it hollow. Once you hear a tile hollow, they ain’t put it in properly, it have air space under it,” Francis told a meeting of homeowners and HLDC officials last weekend

Francis said he did some of the tiling in his house, and told homeowners there is an old secret in tiling: “soak your tiles before you put it down; wet the tiles.

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“And put the thin set on the tiles too and even it out and tap it out so that you tap out the air under it. That is what is happening with a lot of these tiles.”

Homeowners have complained that their house are shaking, and one homeowner told I-Witness News that the tiles in both bedrooms in her house came up one night after the houses was shaking.

Francis said told the meeting that engineers will say that if a house moves sufficiently, it will cause the tiles to come loose.

He said that he has lived in his house in Penniston since 2000, and

six months ago all the tiles on the laundry came up, although he didn’t feel the house shake.

“But I want to assure you that not necessarily because your bathroom tiles fall off, that your house is going to fall down. I really want you — I know it is easy to talk these things, but I share your feelings about the fear you have,” Francis said.

Related: Sen. Francis urges Clare Valley homeowners not to vacate, promises remedial work

Francis asked the media “to be softer on your (homeowners’) minds, don’t play with your minds, don’t blame the government for every opportunity you get.

“Yes, Housing and Land Development Corporation must take some licks for it, because they would have put in the infrastructure. But we will be putting in the infrastructure, even though it is late,” Francis said, in reference to drains and other infrastructure that were not constructed at the project before the houses were built.

Homeowners at the meeting detailed the many problems they have with their houses.

5 replies on “Some Clare Valley housing project tile workers to be blacklisted”

  1. Ha! ha! haaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! what a scamp I say. Francis I believe its you that should be black listed. You are an unelected representative, reject by the people, but elevated to what I personally describe as the family owned government by your cousin.

    Its absolutely disgusting that you are threatening workmen who laid the tiles. Its most likely that the twisting and dancing of the houses is the cause of tile popping.

    Francis said “I share your feelings about the fear you have” do you? do you? do you? I think not. Because if you did, you would move all those people out for their safety. Give them rented houses, there are hundreds of them where citizens have fled the country in search of work walking dogs and sweeping roads in the US.

    Stop talking about what has happened and move the people to safety, NOW.

    To keep blaming the infra structure is a smoke screen. The houses should not have been built there in the first place. There are recent reports from 2006, right back to 1954 about this specific land, it should not be built on.

    Its totally out of order to aim spite at others, you and the Prime Minister are to blame, I understand you all had the reports, like the reports for river defences were in the hands of all relevant government ministers for the last thirteen years. Don’t say they were not, because each report list’s who the reports were distributed to. Had the river reports been followed and fully acted upon, its most probable that the lives and property lost at Buccament would not have occurred.

  2. Pat Robinson Commissiong says:

    From the HD:C’s web site – “The Housing and Lands Development Corporation mandate is to assist the Government of St. Vincent and Grenadines in providing affordable housing opportunities for Vincentian (sic) nation-wide”. It “assists” the Government. So who is ultimately responsible if the assistant appointed to do work fails to perform? I would have thought the person/body who made the appointment in the first place. In countries, like the UK from which we got our system of Parliamentary Government, if a Department or an Agency of the Government makes a mess of things, the Minister responsible takes the blame, and if it is a major “cock up” he/she resigns. In the USA, the Secret Service makes a number of mistakes – and the Head of the Secret Service resigns. She was responsible for the effective running for the Secret Service. She does not blame underlings for not doing their job – she is responsible for seeing that they do the jobs EFFECTIVELY. In SVG, nobody resigns. The Head of the HDLC offers an “apology” to the homeowners. The Minister responsible takes a snipe at the person who revealed the fact that there were soil analysis reports that said the area was not suitable for houses unless expensive foundation works were first done (he is an agronomist so not qualified to advise on housing, says the Minister who was responsible for the development of this project. That the individual concerned was not advising on housing, but informing us of two reports which advised on soil use, is a distinction that the Minister apparently is either unable or unwilling to understand). The HDLC refers inquiries to the Supervisor, who is saying nothing. A contractor accuses the HDLC of failing to provide adequate equipment, of instructing him to build 8″x8″ poles rather than 12″x12″, and of failing to follow a plan thereby causing him to do two sets of work for which, he says, he and the HDLC could not agree on suitable compensation. The Minister now blames shoddy workmanship (was nobody supervising the works? Were no reports made to the supervisors’ superiors? Were no reports submitted to the Minister responsible? Or was everybody lying to everybody else throughout the operation?).
    However you look at it, the HDLC, set up by our Government, and the persons appointed by our Government to positions of authority on the HDLC, have fallen down badly on the job. Was the HDLC instructed to build there by the Minister? Or did they choose that site of their own volition? If they chose a site, which soil analysts said was unsuitable, then the whole top management of the HDLC should resign. If the Minister instructed them to build there (did he know of the report commissioned by the government of which he was a part – if he didn’t then he was a pretty poor Minister; if he knew about it and chose to ignore it, then he was a pretty poor Minister) he is ultimately responsible for the fiasco and should resign. But as I said, nobody in SVG ever accepts blame and resigns. All that will happen is the everybody will pass the buck and everybody will continue as before. “The buck stops here” is not a concept that our officials understand

  3. So we now know the reason why the houses are moving and cause one so far to callasped is because of bad tiles work. Wow heaven help us with these so call leaders.

  4. The absurdity of this boggles the mind.

    Some guys who laid some tiles are to be blacklisted for doing substandard work, the consequences of which are small: tiles are popping off and need to be replaced.

    But the people responsible for the substandard work to build whole houses without proper civil and structural engineering designs and specifications to suit the soils and site conditions; without proper construction practice; without proper construction supervision; without proper project management; these people are fine and are allowed to carry on with their business as usual.

    Never mind that *their* substandard work has already caused a loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars in property values (one entire house has collapsed and the value of the adjacent properties has immediately plummeted).

    Never mind that *their* substandard work has placed at risk the very lives of dozens of people; the people responsible for this life-threatening, substandard work, are ok.

    I-Witness News reports that Dr Katisha Douglas, “who lived in the three-bedroom house with her daughter, told reporters on Saturday that she should have been at home when the house collapsed shortly after 4 pm”. She was a few minutes late getting home on that day. But that’s ok, in the minds of some people. Find a few little scapegoats responsible for putting down tiles, blacklist them, and things good.

    Senator Francis’ absurd position on this is simply not acceptable, in any form or fashion. […]

    But what is worse, instead of now seeking to evacuate the people whose lives are clearly at risk, the senator is instead urging them to remain in these substandard houses. “I don’t want you all to evacuate your houses”, he is reported to have said. “I will make sure that no more fail“.

    This is willful recklessness and is not acceptable, under any circumstances.

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