– Speedboats also to be relocated
Stalls encroaching on government reserves around the Parika Stelling, East Bank
Essequibo, were demolished yesterday with preparations being put in place to facilitate commencement of construction on the new Roll-On/Roll-Off facility.
After receiving notices that all stalls along the Bartica boarding site will be removed, stall owners watched as their structures were demolished. The project is commencing under the Transport and Harbours Department via the Public Works Ministry.
Reports reveal that the active boats are to be removed as well. The Parika-Bartica boats will board and offload on the Steamer side of the stelling. Many stall holders voiced their opinion that it will be ‘bare confusion’ when that time comes.
The Roll-On/ Roll-Off facility is being built to accommodate the two new Chinese ferries which will be put into operation to supplement the current fleet operating in Essequibo as stated by Minister of Transport, Robeson Benn.
According to the owner of Ming & Sons Grocery stall, everyone (approximately 20 stalls affected) was informed three days prior that business would be interrupted as stated on the notice, but there was no mention of physically breaking down functional stalls. He added that he was told that after everyone is finished moving, then the negotiation of space and other alternatives for business
would be discussed.
He stated that his business has stood there for 22 years and that he has lost millions of dollars due to the demolition.
One woman in particular found it difficult to remove all her possessions by the arranged time, because she would usually hold items such as engines, and different sets of containers for other persons such as boatmen and passengers.
She stated that her stall has stood there for 25 years and it is her only source of income for the entire family.
Kaieteur News was fortunate enough to spot two Ministry officials who refused to speak on the demolition and the alternatives to be offered to the individuals affected. According to one individual, Minister Benn was identified as being present on the beach around 07:00 yesterday morning to commence a meeting with the stall owners.
The unanimous concern for all stall owners is the alternative location provided for them to continue their business. The majority lamented that this is their sole
source of income and it has so easily been destroyed.
This is not a new occurrence for Parika stall holders. There was a demolition exercise in 2009 involving vendors operating alongside the Parika Minibus Park. Regional Chairman, Julian Faerber had ordered vendors to remove their stalls three days prior.
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