May 11, 2016 News
Since the devastating fire at the Gafoor’s Complex, Houston on Monday, many concerns have been raised about the fate of the 530 affected workers and many others who depend on the complex on a daily basis as a means of income.
A meeting was subsequently held yesterday morning between the management and the workers. The staff members were reportedly asked to be patient as the company embarked on setting systems in place to have them absorbed into the other Gafoor branches closest to where they reside.
Chief Executive Officer of the Company, Mr. Sattaur Gafoor, told this publication that some 25 percent of the workers have already been absorbed into the several branches along the East Coast, West Bank and East Bank of Demerara. He added that 50 percent of the workers were present yesterday preparing a section of the Houston compound that was unaffected by the fire.
Workers were seen installing air-conditioning units, cleaning the floors and running electrical wires. Operations are expected to commence at that location by Friday, Gafoor said. The other workers, he disclosed, were sent home and asked to return to work on Monday for resumption.
Several organisations including the Private Sector Commission (PSC); the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Guyana (FITUG) have expressed their words of sympathy and encouragement to the Gafoor family as well as the workers affected by this tragedy. The PSC cited the incident as a “national loss”.
“Gafoor’s was one of the foremost businesses in this country and it will take a significant amount of time for them to recover from this setback. We wish to assure the family and the workers that our prayers will be with them as they seek to come to terms with this disaster.”
Several city businessmen were also present yesterday as they offered words of sympathy and encouragement.
Gafoor stated that the building was insured through the P&P Insurance Brokers who in turn, reassured with other companies however; he wished not to get too much into details.
As for the customers who were unable to uplift their materials due to the incident, Mr. Gafoor said that because of the police blockade, many persons could not gain entry to inquire what was going on with their orders however, those who made contact, were directed to the Gafoor’s branch closest to them to uplift their orders.
The many taxi operators who usually operate in the area, were not seen when this publication visited yesterday. They too were dependent on the complex as a means of an income.
One truck operator, Hafeez (only name given), said that his future appears to be dim after the fire. Hafeez said that he depends on the operations at the complex on a daily basis to provide for his family. Now that the fire has taken that away, he will now have to explore other avenue which is a frustrating process he said.
The fire erupted on Monday afternoon and consumed sections of the bond located on the western side of the complex. The blaze eventually spread to other sections of the complex where offices and showrooms were damaged.
The Guyana Fire Service has been working around the clock to ensure that the area is safe. Mr. Gafoor is waiting for this process to be completed so that the full clean-up can commence.
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