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Watson Duke is right!
National Security Minister Stuart Young is off to a poor start as he continues to get it wrong on important issues facing Trinidad and Tobago. He is wrong, in my opinion, for accusing Public Services Association’s Watson Duke of causing over 80,000 public servants unnecessary panic and anxiety following the 6.9 magnitude earthquake that struck T&T recently. Duke did not cause panic. The earthquake did.
Earthquakes don’t kill people, buildings do and therefore Duke was correct for telling public servants not to go to work, as many buildings in this country are not structurally sound. Although you can’t control the seismic hazard and it is impossible to predict an earthquake, you can influence the most important factor in saving lives and reducing losses from an earthquake: the adoption and enforcement of up-to-date building codes.
Older buildings throughout T&T are vulnerable to extensive damage from seismic ground shaking. The key to selecting the “right” standard is understanding the expected amount of damage the building will have after an earthquake. Duke has chosen to ensure that no one is coerced, threatened or forced to enter a building that is not stamped by a registered certified engineer, and rightly so.
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