Bai Shan Lin is constructing a new car park for the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) on the Lamaha Street embankment east of Camp Street even as the Mayor and City Council remains unaware of the planned development.
An official of Bai Shan Lin yesterday confirmed that his company, primarily involved in forest harvesting and sawmilling, is carrying out the work on behalf of the GRA. “We are doing the parking lot for the GRA. It will be finished maybe in two weeks’ time,” the Bai Shan Lin official said.
Commissioner General of the GRA Khurshid Sattaur confirmed that the car park was being constructed for the GRA. However, he declined to disclose how much the contract with Bai Shan Lin was worth, other than to say that it was “a lot of money since it has to be done properly.”
Since the GRA relocated most of its offices to the former Clico building located on Camp Street, parking for staff and the general public engaging in business at the location has been a nightmare. Parking along Camp Street is a virtual impossibility and while the GRA provided some limited parking for staff, members of the public have to park along Waterloo Street to conduct their business at the location.
When this newspaper visited the embankment yesterday, compacting machines owned by Bai Shan Lin were on the ground preparing the terrain for its new purpose. This comes some years after the government forced out squatters from the area saying that the Guyana Power and Light was running high tension power lines immediately overhead and that habitation by human beings would have been hazardous.
Speaking to this newspaper yesterday, Mayor Hamilton Green said that no application to engage in this development ever came to the City Council for approval. “This is a serious matter,” he charged.
“My question is whether the Minister [of Works] has the power to give permission for such development and for the construction of bridges. This is another instance of bullyism on the part of the minister,” Green said.
When Stabroek News yesterday attempted to contact Minister of Works Robeson Benn for a comment his cellular phone rang out.
Green said government has steadfastly refused to implement the Greater Georgetown Development Plan, which Cabinet accepted about 13 years ago. He called the entire situation executive lawlessness. “If it was not safe for people living there because of the high voltage lines, how come it is now safe for government to use for parking? It is a disgrace and I am surprised that the press has not [focused on] this issue. This is an absurd situation that would not happen anywhere else,” the mayor said.