Business owners at the bustling Vreed en Hoop junction are upset over the use of an
“unofficial” garbage dumpsite in what was purportedly state-owned land.
The plot of land, which is a stone’s throw from the Vreed en Hoop market, was reportedly leased to a prominent businessman in the area, Godfrey Bess. Since Bess proclaimed ownership of the land in September, persons in the area have complained about the improper disposal of waste, its obstruction to their daily routine and unpleasant aesthetic quality, along with the unbearable odour it lends to the surroundings.
According to an entrepreneur of the shopping district, in late September Bess arrived at the plot of land with a notice granting him permission to use the said lot. The permission had apparently been granted by the local community’s National Democratic Council (NDC) and Regional Democratic Council (RDC).
The entrepreneur, who wished to be unnamed, related that the land had been “abandoned” longer than the five-year existence of her business. The businesswoman had even set up display stalls in front of the empty lot in those years.
This newspaper understands that on the day Bess arrived with his notice, he also came with an excavator to level the land. Those with stalls in the vicinity of the plot were instructed to dismantle their structures.
However, as many business owners were unprepared for the exercise, they were unable to do so in the timely manner Bess ordered. A vendor of the area told this publication that Bess then proceeded to destroy the structures with the excavator.
Since then, the businessman has left the site in a state of ruin, attracting waste and creating a traffic hazard for motorists and pedestrians.
Attorney-at-law, Fazil Azeez, explained to Kaieteur News that Bess has caused an “encumbrance” to the district. He added that the works have encouraged the public to dump even more waste in the area.
“The police’s main concern is that it will obstruct traffic flow,” said Azeez, “now businesses have started to use the area as a dumpsite, adding to the problem and causing a hazard for everyone.”
In addition to traffic, Azeez added that there are environmental issues which stem from the unauthorized dumping area. He cited an incident where a lit cigarette butt was thrown onto the dumpsite which caused a spontaneous fire. Due to the gases emitted by the decomposing waste, the fire accelerated at an alarming rate. Fortunately, the fire was prevented from spreading to an adjacent gas station, as nearby vendors were quick to extinguish the flame.
Further, the attorney related that the state-owned land had always been the site of garbage, even before Bess arrived. He stated that he has raised the issue numerous times with the NDC and RDC. Nevertheless, the plot has remained unattended for years.
In speaking to a number of vendors in the shopping district, their main concern has been the effect the wasteland will have on the upcoming Christmas shopping season. They voiced their worry about the health risks it will pose to them and their customers. Additionally, with the influx of shoppers, vendors fear that the site will accumulate more waste in the coming months if nothing is done about it. (Nicholas Peters)
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