Toolsie Persaud agrees to five-year lease of land for vendors

Stabroek News
July 27, 2001

Toolsie Persaud Ltd (TPL) has agreed in principle to lease its land on Water Street to the government for a maximum period of five years, but the modalities and conditions of the lease are still to be agreed, according to a press release from the company.

Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr Roger Luncheon, told reporters on Tuesday that the government would lease the vacant lot, which would be turned over to the Mayor and City Council (M&CC) for use by the Water Street vendors.

He had said that the conditions of the lease were yet to be finalised. Dr Luncheon also said that the availability of the location had been made possible by the intervention of the Office of the President, the Attorney-General's Chambers and the Minister of Finance.

The company stated in its release: "TPL wishes to clarify and explain its position in respect of the government's decision to acquire the company's property in Water Street to relocate street vendors.

-The President's announcement of his intention came as both a shock and surprise to the company. TPL was on the verge of moving forward with its long-standing plans to develop the site in an appropriate way, which would have contributed positively to the economic life of the city and the country," the release asserted.

Giving a background on the site, the release said the company acquired the property in 1989 at the then market value and intended to build an ultra modern office and apartment complex for which an architect's design was commissioned and shared with the public through the media. However, infrastructural work on which significant sums had already been spent was halted to reassess technical requirements and was later inhibited by the large-scale incursion of vendors.

The release added that the company was convinced that the way was now clear to proceed and had in the weeks immediately preceding the president's announcement "incurred substantial costs in mobilising the requisite equipment and resources to complete the necessary foundation work prior to beginning actual construction."

Nevertheless, TPL stated, it respected government's intentions and the underlying reasons for the President's decision and as a good corporate citizen, always keen to advance the best interests of the nation and its citizens, approached the subsequent negotiations with President Jagdeo and his administration constructively and in good faith and with the full confidence that an arrangement acceptable to all parties could be arrived at.

According to the release, in the nature of negotiations of this kind, both sides advanced various ideas and approaches and "TPL is convinced that its positions were all times reasonable, rational and considerate."

The release concluded that the company was proud of its contribution to Guyana's economic development and growth over the years.