The popular “Dread Shop” at the Stabroek Market, was early yesterday morning demolished by workers of the Mayor and City Council, which went ahead with the action although the property was at the centre of ongoing court proceedings.
Stabroek News was told that the city workers went to the site around 3am and demolished the restaurant and bar, which has been in existence for almost 30 years.
The owner, Anthony Ford, yesterday said that he lost millions of dollars as a result of the city’s action.
He explained that he received the news of his property’s destruction around 9 am yesterday.
“A man come and tell me the building deh flat on the ground,” Ford recounted to reporters, while noting that a pool table that was at the site was also damaged.
The shop was a well-known spot for hanging out in the vicinity of the Stabroek Market.
A distressed Anthony reflected on how he was in his youth when he laboured to build the business.
Attorney Nigel Hughes, who is representing Ford’s interest, said he has instructed Ford to make an assessment for the damages so they could seek full compensation.
Hughes explained that the location was leased to Ford years ago and he built a permanent structure.
He said there was a court matter in 2011 when the then Ministry of Public Works tried to have Ford removed. He explained that it was that matter that eventually led them to the Court of Appeal.
According to Hughes, at the last court hearing in February, they were referred to mediation.
However, the Chief Works Officer from the ministry failed to attend the hearing, leaving the mediation at a dead end but still active in the Appeal Court.
He noted that there is a dispute between the Ministry of Public Infrastructure and the Mayor and City Council in relation to the ownership of the land, with both entities claiming to be the owner.
Hughes, who said Town Clerk Royston King confirmed the demolition by the city council, condemned the action. “All of us wanted a change in the system. We did not want a change of personnel to carry on the same acts from before. What we want is a change in the structure…,” he said.
Hughes has also condemned the council for the short notice it gave vendors to remove from spots they once occupied on the road side at Stabroek Square.
Efforts made to get a comment from the City Council proved futile as both the Mayor Patricia Chase- Green and King were in a meeting yesterday afternoon.