KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – Fuel supply to the service station in Chateaubelair has been discontinued because of the “deteriorating condition” of the Charles Village road in Spring Village, Steve Francis, manager of SOL, told I-Witness News yesterday.
Francis said that his company considers the condition of the road to be “moderately severe”, two level below “catastrophic” – the highest level on the company’s safety ranking.
“[At] SOL, we are committed to operating safely to protect people and the environment and have developed a set of Health, Safety and Environmental (HSE) guidelines to effect such. We do look forward to the rehabilitation of the road at the earliest opportunity in order that fuel supply to Chateaubelair can resume,” Francis said in an email.
Member of Parliament for North Leeward, Patel Matthews, said on radio Monday that residents of the constituency are “suffering” because petrol is no longer sold at the service station in Chateaubelair.
“It is almost chaotic. People are frustrated,” he said in appealing to the government and SOL to look into the situation.
But Francis told I-Witness News that the company’s Road Tank Wagon (RTW) drivers complained about the deteriorating condition of the road and the risks to which they were exposed.
“We contacted BRAGSA (the Roads, Building and General Services Authority) for an opinion, given the weight of our RTW and gasoline, which is normally loaded in its compartments. BRAGSA did confirm that the road had subsided but indicated that it was not a catastrophic failure. They were of the opinion that we can continue to use the road,” Francis said in an email.
SOL, however, wanted a second opinion and contacted its corporate headquarters in Barbados for an engineer to look at the road.
“Our Engineering Manager of SOL Caribbean Ltd., Julian Jackson, inspected the road on January 6, 2012 and we received his report on Monday, January 23, 2012 and which was forwarded electronically to BRAGSA and the Chief Engineer the same day.
“In essence, our Engineer categorized the condition of the road as a “Category 4”. That is, it is ‘moderately severe’ and recommended that the road be rehabilitated before we resume using it. This view is also shared by other engineers and safety advisors within the SOL Group,” Francis said.
According to SOL rankings, Category 5 means that a situation is “severe”, with the highest level being category 6, or “catastrophic”.