We are writing this letter, out of sheer frustration, on behalf of the Albion Front community that is situated close to the Kali and Hindu Temple Street. The community has a problem that began three years ago and despite the fact that letters have been written to the Office of the President, the Minister of Housing, the EPA, the Central Housing and Planning Authority and the Board, the Regional Democratic Council, the police at Albion Police Station and the Neighbourhood Democratic Council, nothing has been done to eliminate the problem. This can only lead us to one conclusion: that there is chronic incompetence at all levels beginning with the NDC and ending with the EPA and the CHPA. We are simply tired and fed up living with this problem for the last three years.
Here is a brief description of the problem. An overseas based Guyanese (remigrant) who returned to Guyana in 2005, built an ice factory and installed a generating plant to supply the factory with electricity on Lot 15B, Albion Front, Corentyne, Berbice. He had informed neighbours that he would use the generating plant on a temporary basis until he received special equipment to buy electricity from GPL. He used this plant from December 2005 to April 2006, after which he began using electricity from GPL.
In December 2006, he claimed that his electricity bills were too high and began using the generating plant again and continued using it on a twenty-four hour cycle to the present day. The ice factory and generating plant are built at the rear of the yard, which is situated on the northern side of the public road. The noise level of the generating plant is constant and very loud. Neighbours and families are unable to communicate verbally or hear the television during the day and at night. The loud thudding of the exhaust prevents us from sleeping well. We are also subjected to the constant smell of oil and carbon monoxide fumes. It is very difficult, therefore, to understand how this injustice and torture can continue in a civilized society and a populated residential area.
About one year ago, the remigrant built a bar in the front portion facing the public road.
He has since extended the property on government reserve to the edge of the public road and on the western side of the Kali Temple Street. Since there is no fence on the side of the Kali Temple Street, hundreds of bottles are heaped on the eastern side of the street by the proprietor, which, needless to say, is an eyesore. Recently when the Kali Temple had their three days annual Pooja, the Neighbourhood Democratic Council cleaned the drains and picked up the bottles, but this man continues to dispose of his bottles there.
The Kali Temple goes back one hundred years. It is well known throughout Guyana and abroad. It is the oldest Kali Temple in the country and stands on sacred grounds. The Kali Temple Street is used by worshippers and Kali Dancers and they feel that the owner of the bar has desecrated their route. Given these problems and the lack of concern by all authorities we have consulted, the community is asking for the following immediate action:
i) The proprietor should not be allowed, under any circumstances, to use his generators, unless there is a blackout. The community cannot continue to suffer from this noise level.
Would the Chief Exe-cutive of the EPA, the Housing Ministry, the RDC or NDC allow their respective neighbour to have two generators working 24 hours non-stop?
If not, why was nothing done to eliminate this problem for three years? Are the people affected in the described area lesser human beings?
ii) The ice factory’s huge compressors that are located on top of the building release air pressure every five minutes. This noise is an irritant, especially at night. This should be stopped. An ice factory of this size should not be built in a residential area and should be referred to the Belvedere Industrial Site.
iii) A high fence should be built on the eastern side by the Kali Church Street, separating the bar and worshippers going to the Temple. The government reserve taken up illegally should be returned and the proprietor should not be allowed to use the Kali Temple Street for parking his truck.
iv) Most important, close to a year ago, on February 16, 2008, a notice was published in the Stabroek News, in which the proprietor presented a petition for an application for declaration of title of Lot 15B, Albion Front. The owners of the property who are living in New York were unable to respond to the petition. An investigation should be launched into how he obtained the property and how he was given a permit to conduct business, under these circumstances. He would never have been allowed to conduct business in New York, his former place of abode, this way. So the question is why is he allowed to do so in Guyana? Are there no zoning laws?
v) The proprietor should not be allowed to play his very loud music continually, and especially at night.
The community at Albion Front, in the area of the Kali Temple Street goes back decades. They are peaceful people. Their lives have been disrupted by a remigrant, who in our view has no right to do so.
(Names and addresses
We are sending a copy of this letter to Executive Director of the Environ-mental Protection Agency, Mr Doorga Persaud, for any comments he might wish to make.