Edward B Beharry and Company Limited has encountered months of difficulties with the Mayor and City Council in getting various approvals to launch its Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) franchise at two locations in Georgetown.
Sources close to the company say that five months after its initial approach to the council in relation to one of its proposed locations at the NALICO building at Regent and Hincks streets it has been given the runaround.
A second application to the council in March this year for a site on Vlissen-gen Road has been met with silence, sources say.
On Friday, Stabroek News waited for 90 minutes at the office of Town Clerk Royston King to ask about the difficulties being experienced by Edward B Beharry and Company in securing the necessary approvals. King’s secretary finally said that he would be unable to speak to the newspaper before Tuesday.
The difficulties of the major local business in getting the well-known Yum! Brands-owned franchise restarted here would raise major questions for the government. The Ministry of Business has recently placed emphasis on easing the difficulty in doing business here. Guyana is lowly placed on the World Bank’s ranking and there has been a decision by the Ministry to try and reverse this in the hopes of attracting new investment. The difficulties of the Beharry Group would raise queries about whether the administration had worked with the various tiers of government in this direction.
Sources say that Edward B Beharry and Company applied at the end of December 2015 for a permit to remodel the Regent and Hincks Sts site for a KFC outlet. After the council had requested a series of documents from the company, the final application was tendered on January 14, 2016. Verbal approval was then given for the start of work and to erect a barrier. However, on March 31, workers from the council stopped the work reportedly on King’s instruction. The company was told that it could restart work but that the barriers could only be two feet away from the building. This the company said was not feasible and on April 4, city personnel again said that the work must come to an immediate halt.
As it relates to the Vlissengen Road site, the company has received no feedback from the city on its March 3, application. All of its requests have been met with silence. Sources close to the company said that King would not take calls or return them. The company is also concerned that a variety of its matters have stalled at the council.
In August 2013, KFC and Pizza Hut outlets were forced closed after regional representatives of Yum! Brands visited and found poor hygiene practices. At that time, the franchise was held by Friendship Hotel & Restaurant Holdings Limited headed by businessman Deo Singh. The franchise is now held by Edward B Beharry and Co.