City Hall flouts injunction, bulldozes 48-year-old business
Stabroek Square restoration
– says “Dread Shop” is known for unsavoury activities
Despite an Injunction, the Mayor and City Council in the wee hours of Thursday moved in and dismantled the famous ‘Dread Shop’, located at Russell Square, Stabroek, Georgetown, a business which has been in existence for some 48 years.
The council workers sometime around 03:00h began the demolition.
The proprietor Anthony Forde, 74, who could not hold back his tears said he was not informed that his building would have been demolished and had only learnt at 09:30h that his business was destroyed.
He explained that the “Dread Shop” night spot has existed since 1968 and noted that he has been paying rates and taxes for years.
Forde and his nephew related that they did not get an opportunity to retrieve their valuables and that “junkies” made off with many of the items.
Among their lost property were a pools table and television sets. The nephew who preferred not be named, was of the view that the government has “no concern” for ordinary businesspeople.
Attorney Nigel Hughes, who is representing Forde, stressed that City Hall has shown “disregard” to the courts as the matter is still being addressed.
“This has got to be the most outrageous act I’ve seen in a long time because [the matter is] actively going to mediation on the recommendation of the Court of Appeal and then they failed to turn up at the mediation and the Court of Appeal still has conduct of this matter and they believe they can disregard this act,” Hughes posited.
The attorney explained that after he called the City Engineer on Thursday afternoon, Town Clerk Royston King then confirmed that
demolition actions were indeed taken.
“I believe that where people decide that they are not going to obey the law of the land and where they are not going to obey the outcomes of the court proceedings to deal with this particular piece of property then we are in a very dangerous state,” the attorney warned.
“There is a dispute right now between Mr Patterson’s Ministry and the City Council about who actually owns this square because it was donated by the Russell family [while] the Ministry [of Public Infrastructure] claims it is their territory and the city council claims it is their territory,” the attorney further explained.
Meanwhile, also slated for demolition is the nearby “Island Snackette” which has been in operation for almost 50 years. Daughter of the original proprietors Abeola Fung told this newspaper that her family has invested “millions of dollars” to improve the standard of the business. They claim that City Hall said their structure will also be torn down. Fung further related that some years ago City Hall had approved a plan for rehabilitation works to their structure.
City Hall has been relocating vendors and stall owners in a move that it said will see a transformation of the Stabroek Market Square. While some vendors have welcomed the change, others have protested the initiatives of City Council viewing them as “unfair” and “uncaring”.
Meanwhile, City Council in a statement Thursday afternoon, explained that a technical team attached to the Municipality’s Engineer’s Department carried out a removal exercise that saw “the flattening of the so called ‘dread shop’ located west of Parliament Building”.
“The Town Clerk’s office had given earlier notice to the structure’s operators, while making specific reference to what was described as ‘unsavoury’ activities taking place there, particularly on Friday nights. Operations at this facility was also said to be in direct breach of city public health laws,” the statement added.