Banks DIH frustrated with abuse of Demico House by vendors, laments dwindling business
Chairman of Banks DIH Limited Clifford Reis told a large gathering of shareholders on Saturday that the company would be moving to the court, as a last resort, to remove vendors from around its Stabroek Market, Demico House location.
Reis, speaking at the company’s 68th Annual General Meeting, lamented a situation that has resulted in dwindling business and an abuse of the facilities.
“The number of clients going into our restaurants have decreased. The restrooms and toilets are abused.
“We are losing money, the area is being abused… we can’t continue to run a business under those conditions,” Reis said.
He was, in fact, responding to a question posed by a shareholder and noted that after several failed attempts to get the Mayor and City Council and even the Guyana Police Force to remedy the situation, Banks DIH will be moving to the court.
“We are contemplating to take legal action in the court to alleviate this problem just like what Muneshwers did,” he noted.
Muneshwers Limited went to court to seek redress for similar activities at its Water Street, Georgetown building and at the end of 2023 and after about 15 years of complaints, Chief Justice (ag) Roxane George ordered that the vendors be removed or that the Mayor and City Council take steps to seize the good of those who refuse to move.
It was a landmark judgment that has seemingly encouraged other businesses, many of them operating for decades but suffering shortfall in their business operations because they are overrun by street vending and in some cases their buildings, including entrances, are completely blocked.
Reis reminded shareholders of many complaints made and many attempts to remove the vendors from Demico House, all so far unsuccessful.
“Banks DIH made numerous efforts for several years to remove the vendors form operating around its premises.
“We sent letters to the Town Clerk, to the City Council, to the Deputy Commissioner, to the Commander for the Regional Division… and requested their intervention… but to no avail… nothing has happened,” Reis lamented.
He said recently their attorney wrote to the Town Clerk and a visit was made to the location but despite short and long term assurances to remedy the situation, it persists.
“After the visit they started to implement a long term strategy to relocate the vendors and a short term approach to clear the walls of the building and entrances.
“The results were not successful although initiated,” Reis added.
Demico House is a 19th century, two-storey, colonial timber and masonry building that was constructed during the 1880s. This structure is one of the oldest buildings in the area. It was first owned by Messrs Birch & Company along with Charles J. Mauarine.
It was purchased by the D’Aguiar brothers in 1896 when it was converted into a hotel and bar and was known as Demerara Ice House.
Today, the building houses a fast food parlour, a sports bar and a hotel.