Citizens applaud gov’t, Housing Minister’s action to expel foreigners and stop illegal concrete plant construction

- nearby residents now want companies involved to repair damaged road


The recent actions of the government to stop the unlawful construction of a concrete plant and expel the foreigners, who are illegally in the country, have been met with praise from citizens.

The latest move by the government has resulted in the directors, Ian Jones and Richard Shamlin, of Superior Concrete Inc., being ordered to leave Guyana.

Both men were seen verbally abusing government officials, with Shamlin going so far as asking the Ministerial Team from Housing and Water to remove from the property when they were there to observe the service a Contravention Notice on Tuesday.

Shamlin was bold in his actions and disapproval of the government’s insistence that his company provide proof of approval to set up the plant at Houston Estates, adjacent to South Ruimveldt Gardens in Georgetown. Investigations have so far found that no such approval was granted by the Central Planning and Housing Authority, the Georgetown Mayor and City Council or the Environmental Protection Agency.

Directors of Superior Concrete Inc, Ian Jones and Richard Shamlin

Several Facebook comments have commended Minister Collin Croal for his calm demeanour despite the hostile environment and affording due process to the illegal concrete company, which received three contravention notices. Minister Croal was also commended for exercising patience to emphasise the government’s support for foreign investment but said that this must be done in compliance with the country’s laws and regulations.

The two directors were ordered to leave the country after it was found that Shamlin had overstayed on his one-month visitor’s visa and Jones remained in the country and continued to work here even after his services were terminated by his previous employers – an oilfield company. Shamlin was given 24 hours to leave, while Jones was given seven days from May 12.

In several posts on social media, citizens applauded the actions taken by the government. Lana Hill, in a post on Facebook, said: “For the first time I am really proud of the Government of Guyana (regardless of which party in power) for their actions against powerful foreigners. My only disappointment is that they were given 24hrs and 7 days respectively. They should have been on the flight since last night. But a good start by the Government.”

Ayiesha Boyer also wrote: “I have no problem with them working in Guyana, but follow our rules, I don’t care who (you) are and where (you) came from, just follow the rules because other nationals are subject to the rules worldwide and if caught doing otherwise is jail time and deportation #PERIOD”.

Also, Mark Thom said: “I am happy at the swift action taken here and would further like to see their entity scrapped until any approval is given and their equipment leveraged to repair the road they damaged.”

An input from Rommel Pal read: “Good first step, but the company should also be fined and made to repair the damaged roadways. They must follow the laws.”

The City Engineer Department of the Georgetown Mayor and City Council (M&CC) had also served an order to “cease and remove all unauthorised works immediately.”

Mayor Ubraj Narine has said, however, that the Council also intends to approach the High Court for an injunction to be granted to halt the operations.

Based on the Cease and Removal order from the M&CC, Superior Concrete will be in breach if the unauthorised works are not removed by Friday.

Residents say dozens of trucks, some of which belong to the Mekdeci Mining Corporation (MMC) whose principal is Andrew Mekdeci, were constantly traversing the streets. The road is now in a deplorable condition; it was recently repaved in the last few years.

The road is now in a deplorable condition following the constant traversing of heavy-duty trucks to the site (Photo: Mayor and City Council/May 8, 2021)

The illegal plant was being set up on a portion of land facilitated by Guyanese, Andrew Mekdeci, on a lease from Michael Vieira of Houston Estates.

In a press release, Mekdeci wrote: “I Andrew Mekdeci will not disobey the law or disrespect the authority of the Government Agencies. I am not a partner with Superior Concrete Inc. I wish to clarify several erroneous statements which have recently been published in the local and social media alleging that I am involved with the company Superior Concrete Inc. I wish to state, categorically, that I am not a shareholder, executive nor a joint venture partner, have no interests in, nor am I financially connected with Superior Concrete Inc.”

Mekdeci’s statement, however, does not confirm or deny information given by Michael Vieira, the owner of the land, who indicated that the land was rented to Mekdeci and not Superior Concrete. Mekdeci made the statement through the PR firm, Perception Inc. He is yet to answer questions from the News Room and other media houses about his involvement in allowing Superior Concrete to access the plot of land rented to him by Vieira.

Frustrated residents, who reside along and around David Rose Street, South Ruimveldt Gardens, had lodged complaints with the state agencies on the operations.

On Tuesday, the residents blocked the street with debris and old vehicles to prevent the trucks from passing and called for the road to be repaired by the company whose trucks and heavy equipment have damaged it over the last few weeks.

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