Headline — 24 January 2018 — by Rowland A. Parks
Sr. Supt. Jones says that police issued blasting licenses to Tiger Aggregates

Tiger Aggregates owner, Canadian Ronald Sutherland, 71, died in the explosion

BELIZE CITY, Mon. Jan. 22, 2018– The earth literally shook under some residents of Santa Elena Town, who were in the blast area of a massive explosion which damaged about 25 houses and killed the man who had set off the explosives on Tuesday, December 12, 2017.

In the wake of that tragic explosion, many questions remain unanswered. The public still doesn’t know how that kind of explosive power could be used in a residential neighborhood, and what kind of licenses were granted to Tiger Aggregates, whose owner perished in the blast.

The explosion was the consequence of a mining operation that went very wrong when the charge of dynamite that was used to dislodge a boulder on White Mall Hill, located in the Santa Cruz area, apparently was too strong and resulted in the massive destruction.

Hon. Rene Montero, the area representative for Cayo Central, where the explosion occurred, would later say at a House of Representatives meeting that no license was required to carry out the mining of the quarry that claimed the life of the owner of Tiger Aggregates, Canadian national Ronald Sutherland, 71.

At the time of the incident however, Montero said that blasting is normally not done in residential areas.

Notwithstanding Montero’s assertion though, that is exactly what happened — a powerful charge was set to blast the boulder in that residential neighborhood.

This morning, Amandala spoke to Senior Superintendent of Police, Bart Jones (who is also legal advisor to Police Department), who confirmed that Sutherland had a “blasting license” that was issued to him by the Police Department.

Jones told Amandala, “The Police Department issued the blasters license.”

Jones added: “Mr. Sutherland had a blasters license. He was licensed to conduct the actual detonation of the explosives, that is, blasting. In relation to where he conducts the blasting, those are subject to other applicable permissions.”

Amandala asked Jones who gives out these other permits.

“The police give blasters license, but in relation to the operation of the quarry, that comes under a different department,” Jones explained. “If you are a blaster, and you present your credentials to the Commissioner of Police, and he feels satisfied that you are qualified, he would grant you a blasters license, that is, to detonate the explosives. It depends on where you are going to blast — you would need a permit from the Mining Unit under the Ministry of Natural Resources,” he said.

Amandala has made several attempts to speak to someone at the Ministry of Natural Resources’ Mining Unit, but none of our calls to any of the ministry’s listed phone numbers were answered.

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Deshawn Swasey

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