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Gibson Corner street lamps disappear into thin air

Gibson Corner street lamps disappear into thin air

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Residents of Gibson Corner are still in the dark about who ordered the removal of five street lamps from their neighbourhood last week and why no one has so far been charged in connection with their disappearance.{{more}}

The saga began on Monday, August 17, at about 5:30 pm, when, according to a Gibson Corner resident, three men drove into the area in a truck bearing the logo of Ruddy’s Electrical Contracting Ltd.

The curious resident questioned the men about their mission, and by way of response, they claimed they were going to do repair work on the lamps.

One of the men climbed the pole, while the two others remained on the ground. One resident told Searchlight that the men were asked if they had replacement lamps to put on the poles. The resident affirmed that he was told that the lamps would be returned later that week.

Investigations carried out the following day revealed that five streets lamps were removed from the area.

That evening, and for the next three days, residents were forced to use flashlights and cellular phone lights to travel to their homes after nightfall.

Searchlight has been informed that several Gibson Corner residents made calls to St. Vincent Electricity Services Ltd. (VINLEC) on August 18 and were told that VINLEC was not aware of any lights being removed from the area.

On August 20, two days after the lights were removed, Supervisor of Transformers and Lighting at Vinlec, Hassan Williams, visited the area and told one resident that Vinlec had no hand in removing the lighting fixtures and that the matter would be investigated.

Several calls were also made to Ruddy’s Electrical and persons employed there indicated that no authorization had been given to any of the 70 workers employed with the electrical contractor to remove any lights at Gibson Corner.

Investigations carried out by SEARCHLIGHT also reveal that Ruddy’s Electrical, sub-contractors of Vinlec do not repair or deal in the maintenance, removal or repair of streetlights.

SEARCHLIGHT tried to contact owner of the company, Rudy Daize, on August 18th, but he was out of state at the time. According to a reliable source, when Daize returned to the country on Thursday, August 20th, he was informed about the matter and a meeting was held with the workers about the incident, but all denied being in Gibson Corner on August 17th and removing the lamps.

On Friday, August 21, one Gibson Corner resident who had witnessed the removal of the lamps was invited to the Ruddy’s Electrical compound to point out the men who are alleged to have removed the lights on that day.

The resident identified one man, who denied ever being in the area. Searchlight also understands that the truck which was allegedly used in the removal of the lights had come from Bequia that same day after completing work on that Grenadine island.

SEARCHLIGHT understands that after a short meeting was held with VINLEC officials and Daize on Friday, August 21st, two of the three men who had been suspected of being involved in the removal of the lights admitted stealing the fixtures and selling them to a prominent local businessman.

When SEARCHLIGHT contacted Daize, he emphatically stated that no authorization had come from him or any member of staff to have the lamps removed from Gibson Corner and affirmed that it was unfortunate that his vehicle had been used in the heist.

Searchlight understands that following the men’s confessions, a report was lodged with the Criminal Investigations Department, where the matter is currently under investigation.

However, within hours of that report being made, the street lamps were returned to the poles in the area. Residents told SEARCHLIGHT that two men came to the area in a car and put lights on five poles.

It is still, however, not clear if the lamps put up on Friday were the same lamps which were removed.

Up to press time on Wednesday, August 26th, no charges had been laid against anyone involved in the incident.

The three Ruddy’s Electrical employees allegedly involved in the matter are currently on suspension pending the outcome of the matter.

Gibson Corner is a virtual ghost town. Most of the residents were forced to move from the area after Government officials deemed the area unsafe after there was a massive land slippage there in October 1998.

Some of those residents were given lands at Pembroke and Diamond. However, only some of those residents have been able to vacate the area, while a few still languish in the area due to the slow pace of work done on the access roads leading to the lands in Pembroke.

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