May 21, 2016 News
The Georgetown Mayor and City Council,(M&CC) is claiming that it was not privy to any existing court action regarding the structure known as Dread Shop, which was bulldozed by the council on Thursday.
The council had moved to demolish shops and other structures in the Stabroek Market area on the basis that they were illegally built. But Attorney-at-law Nigel Hughes has condemned the action of City Hall, citing a matter which involved the structure and which is engaging the attention of the court.
Hughes said that City Hall had breached an order of the Court of Appeal – which states that the matter was set to go to court for mediation.
He noted that the council had “come and destroy a building in total, and show complete disrespect and disregard for the court of Appeal.” Hughes accused the Town Clerk that he has no regard for the rule of law.
However, City Hall, in a press statement yesterday, noted that at no time was the Council party to or privy to any existing Court action regarding the aforesaid Dread-shop, neither was the Council restrained by any order of Court from interfering with the illegally erected structure in the Stabroek Market area.
According to the missive sent out by Town Clerk Royston King, the present City Council has always and intends to continue to honour all judicial orders made against it, exercising only such legal and statutory rights available to it in an effort to effectively execute its statutory mandate.
“Numerous reports had reached the Council regarding allegedly illicit and nefarious activities being carried out occasionally, particularly on weekends, at the Dread Shop, though Council at the time of removing the structure was not able to substantiate the allegations.”
The council claimed that the area where the Dread Shop was erected fell within what is described as a council area.
Additionally, the statement outlined that the proprietors of the Dread-shop had been informed by the Council that they were required to vacate the said area, and had been given reasonable and sufficient notice to so do.
“They however, without bringing to the Council’s attention the fact that the issue regarding their removal was engaging the attention of the Courts in a matter of which the Council was not a party and of which the present Council was not privy, continued to operate the said entity in breach of Chapter 28:01.”
“Had the Council been made aware of the existence of any Court order or extant proceedings regarding the status of the “Dread Shop”, the Council would have taken that fact into consideration in determining whether to remove the otherwise illegal structure,” the release said adding that the Council undertakes to investigate this issue thoroughly and will issue a subsequent statement at a future date when it is seized of more information.
Recently, the Georgetown M&CC has been clearing the city of a number of illegal structures. The council has removed hundreds of vendors from Water Street and surrounding Stabroek Market areas but relocated them to spots on Merriman’s Mall and an empty lot on Hadfield Street Georgetown.
Town Clerk Royston King had promised to remove all illegal structures in the way of the Council.
But even as the demolition continues a number business persons are contending that City Hall’s action has implications in the court which were filed in an effort to prevent the demolition of the structures.
Abiola Fung, of Island Snackette, owned by Elva Hawker, is among those sharing the same fate. Fung said that the building which shares the plot of land as “Dread Shop.”
Fung said the business has been in her family for more than four decades. She explained that her mother was granted permission to elect a building to conduct building a number of years ago. A few years ago the business became embroiled in a matter engaging the attention of the court.
The woman explained that her mother had approached the Court to challenge the then Minister of Public Works, Robeson Benn’s decision to demolish the structure which accommodated the food snackette.
She said that City Hall was made aware of the court matter but despite this council is considering tearing down her snackette next. The concerned mother of three is currently in talks with her lawyers on the issue.
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