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Ministry’s hammer falls on Mon Repos butchery

- Businesswoman cries discrimination

- Businesswoman has operated the stall in front of her home for more than 30 years

By KNews 

In a move that was described as discriminatory, workers from the Ministry of Works yesterday completely dismantled a $500,000 butcher’s stall at Mon Repos, East Coast Demerara, as they upped the ante on the illegal occupation of government reserves.

Employees from the Ministry of Works in the process of dismantling the stall.

The workers using hammers and a welding torch, reduced the stall to pieces, leaving popular businesswoman Bibi Rahoman, the proprietor of Bibi’s Butchery, in tears.

The workers claimed that the move came in the wake of repeated warnings to the businesswoman not to situate her stall on the government reserve in front of her home.

The area in front of Rahoman’s home is reserved for parking for patrons attending the nearby Mon Repos Market.
The Ministry had on several occasions moved to remove Rahoman’s stall but relented after the workers reportedly demanded cash from the businesswoman.

Rahoman, who has operated the stall in front of her home for more than 30 years, selling mutton, duck and other exotic meats, has been desperately trying to get the Ministry’s approval to temporarily vend at the location.

She claims that since the authorities permit vending on the reserve by others on market days, despite the presence of a multi-million dollar market, she too should be allowed to operate within close proximity of her home.

This newspaper has observed that there are several other vendors, selling similar products being allowed unhindered access to the reserve.

The businesswoman told this newspaper that since her stall is mobile, it did not pose a hindrance to motorists or any other person.

A few months ago, Rahoman was forced to relocate her stall just outside her fence while the authorities facilitated parking in front of her gate.

This she said was very spiteful, since on market days, egress and ingress to her property was hindered because of the vehicles parked there. It also affected her business since potential customers shy away from her location because of the lack of parking.

According to Rahoman, she made contact with Minister Robeson Benn via telephone, to work out an arrangement for her to temporarily occupy the reserve on market days, just like other vendors.

“He told me to meet with him tomorrow (today). That was just before the workers came. When I tried contacting him later as the stall was being destroyed, I could not get him,” the distraught businesswoman told Kaieteur News.

She said that if the Ministry does not move against other vendors she might be seeking legal advice.

“If they do the same to everybody, at least I will be satisfied that there is a level playing field. I am a single parent who has to support two small sons in the USA and if this matter is not resolved fairly, I might as well pack up and leave Guyana,” Rahoman said.

During yesterday’s operation, Rahoman openly confronted the workers, pointing out who had fleeced her of cash to allow her stall to remain on the reserve.

In the presence of several police ranks, none of the workers identified denied Rahoman’s accusations.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010