I first met Derek Walcott, who died on March 20, in the late 1960s when we both worked as reporters at the Trinidad Guardian and the Trinidad Evening News in my native Trinidad.
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City Council to discuss quarrying at Sando Hill today
The controversial quarrying at the base of San Fernando Hill and the stockpiling of material at Marabella is expected to be discussed today when the San Fernando City Council meets in session. Mayor Kazim Hosein and the council members are expected to make a formal decision on how to deal with the matter which attracted national attention last week when San Fernando West MP Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan raised the issue after complaints from constituents.
Seepersad-Bachan made a surprise visit to the site on Wednesday after residents complained about noise and dust coming from the construction site of a three-storey commercial building at the back of Stackhouse Limited, corner of Circular Road and Pointe-a-Pierre Road. Hosein has since launched a probe into the quarrying and the stockpiling of material along the Southern Main Road, Marabella, which he said posed a safety hazard to motorists. The mayor, in an interview over the weekend, said he ordered the San Fernando city engineer to investigate both activities which are connected to construction of the commercial building .
The city engineer is expected to present his findings today at the council meeting at San Fernando City Hall, Harris Promenade, San Fernando. Last Thursday Hosein ordered all work at the Stackhouse site be halted, pending an investigation. Officials from the Ministry of Energy and Energy Affairs, together with armed police officers, visited the site after Seepersad-Bachan expressed concern about the quarrying and noise. Preliminary investigations, the mayor said in a media release, revealed the owner of Stackhouse (a whole and retail business) was granted Town and Country approval in 2008 for construction of a building, but there had been violations of the conditions of the stipulated notice.
One of the breaches, the mayor had pointed out was that fact that the material removed from the Stackhouse site should have been stockpiled on the parcel of land at Williamsville. However material is being stockpiled in Marabella as well. On Friday, the Ministry of Energy issued a release stating that “no licence for mining has been granted to anyone or any entity for quarrying at this site or in the vicinity of the San Fernando Hill”. The ministry added that it was monitoring the situation. San Fernando Hill since it is a protected landmark and heritage site.