Canteen at Vreed-en-Hoop dismantled in land dispute

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Vendors at the Vreed-en-Hoop junction, West Coast Demerara (WCD) are on the last straw after a businessman on Saturday morning demolished one of their stalls.

The vendors and a businessman are in an almost six years dispute over a plot of land where they ply their trade.

The dispute on Saturday turned violent after the businessman, a Police Officer and other persons visited the location at about 05:00hrs and demolished a canteen; the other stalls are portable.

The disputed area at the Vreed-en-hoop junction

The News Room understands that the businessman was attacked by an unknown individual and had to seek medical attention. When contacted, a female answered his phone and said he is suffering from hypertension and cannot come to the phone.

While the vendors are claiming that the land belongs to the Government, the businessman is claiming that he has a transport which gives him ownership to the plot of land.

During a visit to the scene on Saturday, the owner of the canteen which was demolished, Loraine Pollard said she is out of ideas on where to turn to for help.

Vendor: Loraine Pollard

Pollard said earlier on October 31, she received a court order to remove part of her structure which overlaps on the man’s land, however, she has since appealed the case.

Pollard said that January 27, 2020, is set for the court hearing.

Having visited several Government Ministers, the Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC), the Police and other agencies, the vendor said, “we don’t know what is the next move.”

Items destroyed in the Canteen

Pollard estimates her losses to be approximately $15M since the dispute began in 2013; she alleged that the businessman once burned the property down.

“He tell me he burned it down and he will flatten it again…and then now he said he will shoot me and my son,” the vendor said.

Pollard claimed that every time she makes a report to the Police, she is being arrested.

The frustrated vendor said several items were also stolen from her canteen on Saturday morning.

The vendors are claiming that the ranks at the Vreed-en- Hoop Police station are being bribed.

“Somebody doing something behind the scene, I don’t know who [the businessman] got secrets for, but he has none for me,” Devanand Sankar, another affected vendor said.

Vendor: Devanand Sankar

Sankar has a cart, on which he sells pork but he also has two containers on the disputed land which he said were placed there as a result of his previous stall being destroyed.

Sankar claimed that the businessman is laying claim to the drains, parapets and a street which leads to the Vreed-en-Hoop Secondary School and a residential area.

Efforts by the News Room to contact the NDC have so far proven futile.

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