The owners of the Giftland Mall, at Liliendaal, East Coast Demerara, are crying foul, accusing the Mayor and City Councillors of Georgeotown (M&CC) of abusing its authority.
The mall claimed yesterday that heavily armed ranks from M&CC, without any notice, descended on the facility yesterday, and unlawfully removed signs and barriers along the access roads and parking area.
Roy Beepat, head of Giftland, in a statement, said that the M&CC was flexing its muscles at the behest of a number of persons living in a new housing area, owned by National Hardware, and located behind his compound and who have been allowed to use his property to reach their homes.
The raid by M&CC would have happened at the same time when scores of businesses and civic groups were protesting in front of City Hall against the introduction of parking meters in downtown Georgetown.
In a statement titled “City council removed Giftland Mall parking signs to allow Eddie Boyer development access”, Beepat explained that the incident occurred at 12.00PM.
“…the City Council, under the direction of Mr. Buxton sent a delegation of heavily armed guards and workers to the Giftland Mall and without any prior notice, unlawfully removed all the parking signage from the access road and mall compound.
“These included diplomatic parking and car park parking signage along with barriers which are the property of the Giftland Mall,” the mall said in a statement.
The entity was harsh in its criticisms of the M&CC. :The fact that this was done without prior notice shows the lawlessness which the authorities had stooped to, in order to satisfy the interest of certain private individuals.
“Giftland Mall wishes to state categorically that the access road was built and paid for by its own funds with the exception of 1 1/2 inch of asphalt surfacing from the Ministry of Public Works and it has not been gazetted as being part of any Government property.”
Giftland said it is convinced that this action by the council is anti-business.
“There has been ongoing discussion with the city concerning issues as it relates to the access to the ‘Boyer Land Development’, which is the root cause of this action.
“This act, which should have been directed and coordinated with the local police station, was unilateral, boycotting protocol and without any attempted negotiations.”
Giftland said that the removal of the signage and barriers threatens its wellbeing due to the heavy traffic congestions which are experienced daily.
Giftland said it believes that M&CC’s action is a backlash also to its current campaign of free parking, “which may not be sitting well with the architects of the failed car parking meters in the capital.”
National Hardware had controversially bought the 103 acres aback Giftland property in 2010 for a paltry $510M or just under $5M per acre. A 4.7-acre plot of land in the same area had been sold a few months before to Scady Business Corporation, an overseas company based in Tortola, British Virgin Islands for $115M or $23M per acre.
Yesterday, Roy Beepat, President and founder for Giftland, made it clear that he had been allowing residents of the housing scheme started by National Hardware to use his road and property to enter and exit their homes.
“We asked that the barriers in place not be removed as there is a traffic congestion problem and it could cause chaos.”
However, a few residents of the National Hardware housing scheme were not too happy with having to drive around the barriers.
Beepat explained that the housing scheme had even built a bridge leading to his compound and he had attempted to work with them allowing them to use the access road.
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