City Hall investigating construction of Chemical Warehouse
The Mayor and City Council is currently investigating the construction of the Chemical Warehouse at the John Fernandes Ltd (JFL) Inland Terminal by Nalco Champion Guyana Incorporated.
At a hastily called press conference Tuesday at City Hall, the Chairperson of the City Works Committee, Ekita Edwards said City Hall has since issued a cease order to stop construction of the facility at Industrial Site in Ruimveldt Georgetown.
Edwards said the council is aware of the situation with the residents and the chemical company, Nalco Champion Guyana Inc.
“We do believe that the petrochemical bond should not be constructed within that area; it’s also unauthorized work and last Monday on the 22 of July the council would have moved a motion that the proprietor be issued a stop order- the proprietor being John Fernandes –ceasing all works regarding the construction of that petrochemical bond,” Edwards said.
Even before the cease order was issued by City Hall, Nalco Champion had stopped construction of its chemical warehouse earlier in July pending an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).
This was disclosed by Jeremy Fernandes of John Fernandes Ltd. at a meeting which was held recently at the New Guyana School, a short distance from the proposed facility, to discuss the plan with residents and others.
Meanwhile, City Engineer (ag) Kenson Boston said Tuesday he delivered the cease order on Friday last.
“That cease order was delivered by the building inspectorate on Friday (July 25) where they have signed [and] collected that document, apparently we receive some report thereafter when the building inspector left that some of the works were still being done,” Boston said.
Boston said that all of the construction works within the city should be guided and authorized by the city engineer’s department before any construction.
When contacted on Tuesday, Company Secretary of John Fernandes Ltd, Zach Gonsalves, in a statement to the News Room confirmed that the company is adhering to City Hall’s cease order.
“Due to the recent concerns raised by residents of Ruimveldt of the storage of chemical materials at this facility, the City Council issued an order for work on the erection of the warehouse to house these chemicals to stop. JFL complied with this order,” Gonsalves said in the statement.
Meanwhile, City Hall issued another cease order to John Fernandes Limited to stop works in the Houston area.
Deputy Town Clerk (ag), Sherry Jerrick said the cease order was issued to stop the backfilling of sand, loom and mud in the navigational canal in the area.
“As it is, it currently poses a risk as well as it interferes with the drainage of our city, as such the council is appealing to persons to be very cautious when executing works be considerate of other citizens and at the same time be mindful that the council has regulations with respect to additions, constructions, alterations anything with respect to your propriety…we cannot continue to condone unauthorized construction,” Jerrick said.
John Fernandes Ltd in its statement noted that it applied to the Central Housing & Planning Authority for the area at its property in Plantation Houston to be reconfigured for use as a container terminal, inclusive of storage of lumber and pipes.
The company said that approval was received on October 2014 and according to John Fernandes Ltd, in order to conduct the business of a container terminal, storage facilities including warehousing needs to be made available.
Based on this, John Fernandes Ltd applied to the City Engineer’s Office in April 2018 for permission to erect a warehouse.