National Bank land in Main Street suggested for vendor relocation
Stabroek News
September 2, 2001

The September 1, deadline has passed and the vendors are yet to be relocated to the Water street property owned by Toolsie Persaud Ltd (TPL) that the government intends to acquire for their use.

Up to yesterday, there was no sign of any activity to prepare the site for occupation by the vendors.

Meanwhile, TPL is understood to have suggested to the government that the vendors could be relocated to empty lot on Main Street between Guyana Stores and Courts and over the way from the Tower Hotel. In making the suggestion TPL said that it was not a last ditch effort to keep its property and to proceed with its development plans, but a constructive and realistic option that would meet the needs of all concerned.

The site suggested by TPL is owned by the National Bank for Industry and Commerce (NBIC) and was acquired in 1990 to construct a modern head office building. NBIC last year completed construction of its head office at another site on New Market street.

In a letter to President Bharrat Jagdeo, TPL was reported to have pointed out that the Main Street NBIC site was about the same size as its Water Street site and had all the characteristics and advantages which led to government's decision on its property.

The letter pointed out that the site was more developed than its own at the present time to accommodate the vendors and would require much less money and time to make it useable. TPL said that its previous offer to assist financially with the relocation of the vendors still stood. It is yet to receive an acknowledgement or a response to the letter in which the suggestion was made.

Meanwhile Stabroek News understands that the formalities for initiating the compulsorily acquisition are yet to be initiated though President Bharrat Jagdeo assented to the amendment to the Land Acquisition for Public Purposes Act which paved the way for the takeover. Government had said it would stick to its $100 million valuation on the TPL site and would be happy to let the court decide what would be "prompt and adequate compensation".

Stabroek News also understands that TPL was still to receive a response from the government to a previous letter in which it suggested that an independent assessor be identified to value the Water Street site and the Guyana Stores Garage further along Water street, it asked for in a swap. Government spokesmen including President Jagdeo had said that the TPL site was worth only $100 million as against TPL's valuation of $457 million. According to the government, the Guyana Garage property, TPL wants in exchange for its site is valued at $400 million.

President Jagdeo turned down the idea of the swap because of the huge disparity in the value of the two properties.