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Emergency permits handed out for slate

An industry expert took issue yesterday with a government announcement that emergency permits had been processed to allow contractors to cut slate.

Shawn Perott, a quarry operator with 21 years’ experience, said: “If that’s the case, and you did that, I should have been working. I’m still waiting.”

Mr Perott said that he had been hamstrung in his efforts to assist in recovery efforts in the wake of the Category 3 Hurricane Humberto which damaged roofs across the island.

Mr Perott added: “I’ve helped this island out in all the hurricanes since 2003.

“So I don’t see why I should have my hands tied in my own country and can’t produce slate for the citizens of Bermuda.”

Mr Perott was speaking after a government representative said that emergency permits had been processed for slate cutting.

A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Home Affairs said that the Government was “aware of, and concerned about, the plight of homeowners who have lost roofs and suffered damages as a result of Hurricane Humberto”.

It came after The Royal Gazette reported yesterday how hundreds of hurricane-damaged homes could face long waits for repairs because of a slate shortage.

Mr Perott previously estimated that as many as 500 homes damaged by last month’s hurricane could wait up to three months for repairs because of the shortage.

The spokeswoman said that “a number of steps have been taken to determine sites that could be used to obtain slate”.

She added: “This includes liaising with the Construction Association to determine sites as well as liaising with the quarry operators who have existing licences to cut slate to ensure that there are adequate amounts that are being produced.”

The spokeswoman identified five sites that were actively being quarried or where the landowner had requested permission to cut slate. They are:

• Bermuda Slaters, St George’s

• Butterfield & Vallis near the Bermuda Athletic Association

• Barritt’s Soda Company

• St Regis, St George’s

• Radnor Estate Road, Hamilton Parish

She said that a single site could provide anywhere from 300 to 500 piece of slate per day.

The spokeswoman added that the current wait time for customers was about 1½ to 2 weeks.

She added that small roof repairs could require as many as 500 pieces of slate while a full roof replacement could require between 1,500 and 2,500 pieces.

But Mr Perott said that some of the numbers provided by the Government were “inaccurate”.

He took issue with the wait time for customers for slate provided by the spokeswoman.

Mr Perott also disagreed about the amount of slate that a site could provide in a day. He said: “A quarry operator that has got his equipment together can produce anywhere from 2,000 to 3,000 pieces a day.”

Mr Perott said that of the list of five sites provided by the Government only one — the Butterfield & Vallis site — was operational. He said of the other locations: “There’s nobody at these sites.”