A large number of motorists have been loitering after hours at the Shell gas station on Vlissengen Road, according to proprietor Robin Low, who is concerned about the negative effects on the business.
A participant who attended the ‘A’ Division police stakeholders meeting, hosted by Commander Marlon Chapman last Tuesday, had highlighted the situation, saying that persons has been visiting the gas station in the afternoon hours to consume alcohol and smoke. He had said when they were approached by staff of the facility about their behaviour and the fact that smoking was prohibited on the site, they subjected staff to abuse. In one instance, the participant said a member of the staff had a gun pulled on him and it was noted too that Low was forced to close down his business for a couple of days due to the situation.
However, Low, when approached by Stabroek News on Friday, explained that the issue was one that has been ongoing for some time recently. Sometimes, he said, the crowd is so large that the attendants cannot sell gasoline.
“What happens is that the crowd moves from wherever they were after the 2am curfew and they come here,” he said, while adding that this does not benefit his business but rather affects its operation and has the potential to be dangerous. “They come and lime. Some of them may buy one and two things, others bring their own drinks. So, they just want a place to lime. The crowd is so much that our staff can’t handle it,” he explained.
Low said that another problem is the noise nuisance, which affects neighbouring businesses and persons living in nearby communities. “They would have one car playing and then another car at the same time. It’s a very chaotic situation,” he stressed.
He explained that “people come here a lot, they park up for a little while and then they go but recently it has gotten really bad because somebody has found a place to lime and what happens is that we extend our property so now it’s a big open area and they utilise it.”
Two weeks ago, he said, the company had decided that it needed to address the problem and had put in place a measure to monitor the situation by closing its doors to customers from midnight to 6 am instead of maintaining its 24-hour service.
Low noted that there was a large decline in the number of loiterers but he said it might only last for a while. “It is going to come up back, especially this weekend, since it is a holiday weekend,” he said.
As it relates to the incident where it was related that a gun was pulled on a staffer, Low explained that it was the supervisor of the guard service that monitors the business. He said the supervisor had approached the occupants of a vehicle on the premises to inform them that they should not be in the area and a gun was shown.
Following last week’s meeting, Chapman had promised immediate intervention and an officer was expected to meet with Low to discuss the issue.
Low related to this newspaper that the police were previously made aware of the situation. He, however, confirmed that a meeting was indeed held.
“The plan of action was that they shared some specific numbers with us, contact numbers and they are aware that when my staff call… they will take more serious action about it,” he said. “They had been called in before and what would happen is that they would come and the issue would have died down. But the point is they will remove anybody now that is causing that sort of problem and any sort of buildup of traffic because if they are not purchasing fuel or anything, they ought not to be here.”