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BAICO property a security, health hazard

BAICO property a security, health hazard

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Comptroller of Inland Revenue Kelvin Pompey is calling on the relevant authorities to clean up the now vacant property, which had been under construction by the now defunct British American Insurance Company Ltd (BAICO) at Egmont Street in Kingstown.{{more}}

According to Pompey, who operates from a building which shares a boundary with the vacant property, the area has become a health and security hazard for the workers at the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) and for anyone else who frequents the area.

Pompey said that he contacted BAICO’s Judicial Manager for St Vincent, Brian Glasgow, back in June, but nothing has been done.

“While we are talking about keeping town clean, somebody has to take responsibility for keeping the area clean and it is right next to the IRD, which means at the end of the day, we feel the full brunt of the health and the mess that is there,” Pompey told SEARCHLIGHT in an interview last week.

Among the issues, according to Pompey, are termite infestation, which has affected the ground floor of the IRD; individuals who use the area as a public toilet and vagrants who frequent the area.

Pompey also told SEARCHLIGHT that students in uniform have been spotted on the compound, in and around the abandoned structures.

“We suspect that by the characters that we see, that there is a lot of clandestine activity that goes on there,” he said.

The Comptroller also explained that there had been a few incidents concerning vehicles, which were parked close to the area, being broken into and that the property, as it currently exists, offers safe haven to persons who may want to engage in that sort of activity.

“Generally, it is an eyesore and it attracts quite a lot of undesirables, right next to us as a revenue department.”

The stench is becoming unbearable and according to Pompey, at this point, although BAICO is no longer directly responsible for the property, someone needs to come forward and deal with the issue.

“Perhaps the State needs to come forward and look into acquiring, because it is prime property and next to the government complex which makes it an eyesore,” he said.

“What we want is for the issue to be dealt with so that we can breathe easier and reduce the security and health risk that it currently poses,” Pompey continued.

SEARCHLIGHT visited the area, and witnessed first hand the extent of the problem.

Bits of garbage were scattered about the property, foliage had taken over the incomplete concrete structure, even attaching itself on to the back of the IRD building and strips of board were piled up on top of each other.

Chief Environmental Health Officer Rupert Doyle, when contacted, said that he was unaware of the situation, but was quick to say that there were various ways that the issue could be addressed, including the summoning of the vector control department.

Deputy Warden at the Kingstown Town Board (KTB), Benjamin Haynes however said that while he was aware of the situation, there was very little that the Kingstown Board could do to resolve the matter, since it was private property.

Haynes told SEARCHLIGHT that the KTB could have found itself in some legal trouble, had a decision been made to go in and try to remedy the problem.

Glasgow, however, told SEARCHLIGHT that arrangements are being made to rectify the problem.

He acknowledged the phone call from Pompey, saying that he had been previously notified about the problem, but that he could not give an exact date when work will commence, or what type of work will be done.

“The people who are dealing with it will decide what type of action is necessary,” he said, adding that the instructions were that action needed be taken as soon as possible.

Glasgow, who is senior partner at the accounting firm KPMG, was appointed Judicial Manager for BAICO operations in St Vincent and the Grenadines by the High Court in July 2009, after the insurance company collapsed.

This means that Glasgow has been given responsibility to conduct the management of the business operations of BAICO within St Vincent and the Grenadines, “with the greatest economy compatible with efficiency” according to court documents.

According to a report filed by the Judicial Managers of BAICO in October 2009, as at June 30, 2009, unaudited financial statements indicated that the company’s deficiency in the Eastern Caribbean stood at EC$775 million.

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