TGI denounces link to collapsed buildings in Haiti

TCL Guyana Incorporated (TGI) has condemned a recent Commodities Store cement ad, saying it attempted to capitalise on the earthquake in Haiti by linking Pozzolan cement to the collapse of the buildings there.

The Commodities Store, an outlet of Fidelity Investments Incorporated, advertised “just arrived” cement products in the Kaieteur News. In a press release yesterday, TGI noted that at the bottom of that ad, the store stated that “…Not all cement on the market is classified as Portland. Do you know that many of the collapsed structures in Haiti were made with Pozzolan Cement?” In response, TGI said, “it is unfortunate that in an attempt to impose their own product on the market that the Commodities Store Inc. would exploit the unfortunate plight of the Haitian people.” TGI further stated that as the manufacturers and distributors of Pozzolan Cement it is “constrained to respond head on to the dishonesty of the attack” on its product.

The ad, according to TGI, purports that Guyanese contractors should avoid Pozzolan cement because buildings constructed with it collapsed when the 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit Haiti.

TGI contended that “the issue with the collapse of structures in Haiti has to do with poor building practices: no codes, or little adherence to codes. Hence, no structures could survive the magnitude of that quake. This assertion is supported by the recognised scientists and engineers in the field.”

TGI continued to support their contention by citing comments about the collapse of the Haitian concrete structures by various specialists. Among those quoted are Michael Havbro Faber, a professor of risk and safety at the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH); Brady Cox, is an engineering professor at the University of Arkansas and a member of the National Science Foundation–funded GEER (Geoengineering Extreme Events Reconnaissance); and Pierre Fouche, an earthquake engineer from Haiti who is now getting his doctorate in earthquake engineering at the University of Buffalo.

Havbro said:  “These buildings are in no way designed for earthquake loadings and other severe natural events. For the world’s poor, safety is a question of resources. It’s reflecting not only a standard in designing and constructing buildings – it’s reflecting poverty.”

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