Demolition of “Dread shop”
In a press release by the Mayor and City Council (M&CC) on Friday, it was indicated that the demolition of the 48-year-old business known as “Dread Shop” at the Stabroek Square, Georgetown, did not breach any court order.
According to the release, the “Dread shop” was an unlawfully erected formation, as it fell within the district of the “council area” as stated under the Municipal and District Councils Act, Chapter 28:01. It was stated that numerous reports were made to the M&CC, alleging the involvement of immoral activities being permitted at and around the entity.
The M&CC’s statement highlighted that notice to vacate the premises was given to the “Dread Shop’s” owners by the council in ample time. It was then the proprietors began engaging the courts without informing Council. Thus the Mayor and City Council contended they were never restrained by any court order, since they were not involved in any proceedings pertaining to this matter.
It was further highlighted that had the council been aware of an existing court order against the removal of the illegal structure; they would have abided by the judicial orders.
Proprietor of the business Anthony Forde’s lawyer Nigel Hughes however, had accused City Hall of disobeying the court order. According to Hughes, the dispute over the “dread shop” is presently ongoing in the Court.
“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 had indeed happened.
“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 had posited.
Hughes had further said: “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.”
Meanwhile, also slated for demolition is the nearby “Island Snackette” which has been in operation for a similar time.
Proprietor Abeola Fung told this newspaper that her family has invested “millions of dollars” to improve the standard of the business. They claimed 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 it said will see a transformation of the Stabroek Market Square. While some vendors have welcomed the change, others have protested the short-shrift initiatives of City Council, viewing them as “unfair” and “uncaring”.