Jul 23, 2009 News
The public interest will override private agendas as the police are acting out of their jurisdiction to remove hire cars from the Government reserve at the University of Guyana access Road, Turkeyen.
This is according to Minister of Public Works, Robeson Benn, who yesterday told the media that area that is referred to as UG ‘road head’ is government reserve.
He said that he was disappointed to learn that the police, acting on behalf of a private resident, have been moving the drivers of hire cars from the reserve.
The Minister urged yesterday that the police desist from such activity.
“The fact of the matter is that, that is a transfer point for people going into the University.”
Benn stressed that the road reserve belongs to the government and the government can assign areas along that road for activities in the public interest and that is his intention.
Over the past few weeks, the police have been removing hire cars from the area since a private resident in the area complained that they, the hire cars, are destroying their land.
However, Minister Benn is contending that the area where the cars are parked each day, belongs to the government.
“In this particular instance, the house there is not up against a fence and against the road…there are a number of houses in a gated compound but in any event the public interest has to override that private interest but in a way that does not necessarily create too much trouble for the particular private interest.”
The Minister said that he would have a representative from his Ministry speak with the owner of the residence and the police.
Benn pointed out that he would hate to think that the police are acting only in the interest of private enterprise.
“There is no way that we will go along with the position that public transportation, taxi or bus services, cannot take people from that bus area into UG or to bring them out.”
Yesterday, when Kaieteur News visited the area, the hire cars were parked on a piece of land owned by the National Industrial and Commercial Investment Limited (NICIL). The area is opposite the UG bus shed.
Nearby, signs were erected preventing drivers from parking.
Speaking with this newspaper, one driver, Shamo, said that he has been working in the area for more than four years.
He said that Minister Benn had said that he would find an alternative area for them to park.
Another driver stated that on Tuesday, the police warned them not to park on the side with the bus shed or they will be locked up.
“Wha I gone tell you? Them got money them can do what them want,” the distressed driver said.
According to another driver the police informed them that the orders to remove them from the area were passed down directly from the Commissioner of Police.
The drivers claimed that they usually fix the area whenever the need arises but now that they are on the mud it is very hard to maintain.
“Nine years I working here…they put some big stones so we can’t park and when Public Works come and they move the stone,” another driver lamented.
DURBAN STREET RESERVE
Meanwhile, persons living on the Government reserve north of D’Urban Street are asked not to expand their operations or construct new structures.
Commenting on the status of discussions to relocate those people living on the reserved lands, Minister Benn said that his Ministry was in discussion with the City Council with respect to a piece of land just to the south of the National Gymnasium.
The area was identified to have a small mini-mart, a playground and a sitting area for the public.
“We had to go out to get funding for that…our first indications from City Council were that the land did not belong to us…the project got into limbo.”
According to the Minister, residents on the reserved area were also warned not to create conditions with loud music and congestion in the area.
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