The original plans submitted by Edward B Beharry and Company Limited for building works at two city sites intended for its Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) franchise were not in order, according to Town Clerk Royston King, who says the company went ahead with alterations at one of the locations without the required permission.
Stabroek News had reported on what company officials said were months of difficulties with the Mayor and City Council in getting various approvals to launch the KFC franchise at the two locations in Georgetown.
King, in a letter published in yesterday’s edition of the newspaper, acknowledged that two applications were submitted for building works at for the sites at Regent and Hincks Street, and Vlissengen Road in January, and March 2016, respectively.
However, he noted that both plans were found to be not in order by the City Engineer’s department. “My information is that the scale to which the plans were drawn was incorrect and there was a worrying paucity of other relevant information,” he wrote.
King said Plan # 10/2016 was submitted on January 14th, 2016, in the name Basil Mahadeo for North American Life Insurance Company Ltd, for Beharry Restaurant Holding Inc – Lots 30 and 31, Regent and Hincks Streets, Robbstown, Georgetown, for internal alteration and change of use of part of the ground floor from office to food restaurant.
He said the plan, after it was submitted, was sent to the City Public Health Department on January 20th, 2016, and returned on January 25th, 2016. He added that it was then placed in the ‘Plan Not in Order’ file, on January 27th, 2016, for additional information and copies of the plan and the representative of the company was informed.
King said the additional information and copies were submitted in April and as a result, the processing recommenced, with the application being sent to the Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) on April 7th, 2016 and returned on May 6th, 2016. He noted that the Building Inspector examined the plan on May 9th, 2016 and forwarded it to the Supervisor Building Inspector on May 12th, 2016, and to the City Engineer on May 13th, 2016 and Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA)) on May 18th, 2016.
“Notwithstanding that, the company started to do alterations to the Nalico building situated at the junction of Regent and Hincks Streets, without the written permission of the City Engineer as required by the law,” he, however, noted.
King said barriers were also erected on a portion of the pavement of Hincks Street, which forced citizens on to the road, which is already congested with vehicular traffic.
The company had said verbal approval was given for the start of the works and for the erection of the barriers.
But King said that upon receiving complaints from citizens about the inconvenience posed by the barriers, he enquired about them and was told that no permission was given by the City Engineer for their erection. As a consequence, they were removed, he added.
Meanwhile, King said Plan # 83/2016 was submitted on March 4th, 2016 in the name of Beharry Restaurant Holdings for GBTI Property Holdings Inc, PP Lot X comprising Lots 8-9, sub lot 10 ‘B’ part of Lot 10 Vlissengen Road, Bel Air Park, Georgetown.
Upon submission, he said the application was forwarded to the City Public Health Department on March 7th, 2016 and returned on March 16th, 2016, where the said department identified some aspects for correction. He noted that these corrections were made and the plan was returned to the department on May 10th, 2016. It was returned to the City Engineer’s Department on May 12th, 2016 and the Building Inspector reviewed it and sent the plan on May 20th, 2016 to the Supervisor Building Inspector. It was then sent to the City Engineer on May 20th, 2016 and CH&PA on May 24th, 2016, he added.
King said once the plans and documents have been approved by the CH&PA, they would be returned to council for its approval and then signed off by him.
The complaints by Edward B Beharry and Company Limited about the delays in the approvals of the applications came amidst an effort by the Ministry of Business on easing the difficulty in doing business here, in a bid to raise Guyana’s position on the World Bank’s ease of doing business index as well as to attract new investment. King said in his letter that it has never been the practice of the city council to prevent economic development. “…we would be foolhardy to do that.
It is clear that we have limitations, shortcomings and inadequacies, but the council does not deliberately and intentionally restrict the work of businesses and corporations,” he wrote, while noting specific by-laws and regulations, which stipulate various procedures for building and allied works within the city cannot be disregarded by the council. “We, at City Hall, have to secure the integrity of the public’s health and the safety of local communities and the city, by ensuring that all citizens comply with all of the by-laws of the City of Georgetown. Even if we were willing to do otherwise, we are constrained by the laws to honour our statutory duties without fear or favour, affection or ill will,” he added.