The Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) yesterday said that it has dismantled a fence that was encroaching on the Lamaha Canal reserves. But the owner of the property, businessman and politician, Peter Ramsaroop has claimed he was not informed of any violations by the company.
GWI in a statement last night said that a team along with GWI’s Managing Director, Dr. Richard Van West-Charles went to the Sheriff Street property and found 66 feet of the reserve being encroached on.
“That section of the reserve measured 149 feet by 181 feet in 2015 but today had a measurement of 149 feet by 118 feet,” the statement adds.
“Recently, it became noticeable that the fence behind the last house had moved to take in more land. It was indicated to the occupier, Mr. Peter Ramsaroop that the issues surrounding ownership and occupancy will be addressed and communicated to the residents who were on the reserve,” GWI explained further.
Van-West Charles in the statement said that that that the company cannot encourage such a level of encroachment, which he described as ‘lawless.’
“He pointed out that it has been a long battle with residents regarding intrusions on the reserve and an attempt was made to meet with them in 2016 but they were a ‘no show.’ According to him, the utility will be taking action straight along the Lamaha Canal,” the GWI statement said.
Contacted yesterday, Ramsaroop said “the only notice I received from GWI was two years ago and they asked me to move my fence in 10 feet and I moved it in 20 feet. It was the last correspondence I got from GWI since I moved in there.”
Ramsaroop said further that the previous owner had prescriptive rights to the land like other property owners in Bel Air going to the end of the canal. He added that after he was informed of the dismantling of the fence he contacted two neighbours whose properties also go towards the canal and they said that they had not received any notices from the water company.
Ramsaroop added that he “hope[s] it is not just [him] they are after and they would take the same action for every other person and take their fence down.”
When Stabroek News visited the area yesterday, it was observed that only the first layer on the eastern side of the perimeter fence was removed.
The property from which the fence was dismantled is the same that Junior Minister of Natural Resources Simona Broomes was renting from Ramsaroop.
The Lamaha Canal is utilized by GWI’s Shelter-Belt Water Treatment plant, and Regional Manager of Georgetown, Curtis Niles said that removing the illegal structures will allow the company to provide a better quality of water to residents of the capital city, the statement added.
He explained that there are blockages and the illegal structures will hinder the cleaning of the intake of water from the canal, thus affecting water quality. According to him, removing the illegal structures will also allow the utility to function more efficiently, since access to properly clean the canal will result in the use of less chemicals for treatment of the water.
It was also pointed out in the statement that “in the latter part of 2015, the Georgetown Mayor and City Council had decided to use the unoccupied portion of land for a “Green” park.” The vacant lot is located on the western side of Sheriff Street.
However, GWI reached out and indicated that it was interested in erecting a corporate office on the said land and the parties arrived at a mutual understanding. At that time, there was a zinc fence erected behind the last house towards Sheriff Street in Georgetown, GWI explained.