BM Soat withdraws its action against Ministry of Public Works

12th January, 2014

KINGSTON - Bhashir Mohamed owner of BM Soat, East Coast Demerara (ECD), has withdrawn all actions on his part in the court with respect to his occupation of public land.

Through his lawyer, Khemraj Ramjattan, a “notice of withdrawal and discontinuation” was filed in the Court of Appeal on Monday, January 6, 2014.

Mohamed’s withdrawal confirmed the Ministry’s argument that it was correct in its move to remove the illegal structures, which included a fence.

The Ministry’s position has always been that the erected fence, which was at the center of the legal wrangle, had to be removed in accordance with the 1973 property boundary line.

BM Soat’s intransigence in this matter severely delayed the much needed road widening works for up to two years and placed an enormous burden on taxpayers.  

It is hoped that the turnaround in Mohamed’s attitude will be an object lesson for all those who are illegally occupying Government lands. Guyana’s development cannot be held hostage for the selfish interest of a select few.

Furthermore, the Ministry will continue the removal of encumbrances on Government lands along the main public roads. Notices of this activity have again been placed in all national newspapers.

BM Soat exceeded boundary by 7797 square feet

2nd January, 2014

KINGSTON - Amid allegations of victimisation, Public Works Minister Robeson Benn said BM Soat utilised an extra 7797 square feet of land beyond the lot given to the entity

“The land currently occupied by BM Soat exceeds the 57,934.80 square feet vested in him by the transport which he presented as evidence of ownership by 7797 square feet – specifically the northern boundary is exceeded by some 1306 square feet and the southern boundary by 6490 square feet,” Minister Benn explained during an emergency press conference on Monday evening.

On Friday, the Public Works Ministry demolished a fence and two concrete structures at BM Soat’s Auto Sales showroom at Success, East Coast Demerara.

The move by the ministry prompted many questions, but on Monday the ministry said its action was just. “The ministry takes this opportunity to reiterate that the fence and other erections demolished by the ministry were on government reserves and the ministry was acting within the ambit of the law in the demolition and removal of same,” Benn said, while speaking at his Kingston office.

Court orders

He put to rest allegations that the encroaching fence was dismantled despite a court order being served to prevent such, noting that it was during the process of demolition that the court order was brought to the attention of the ministry. “The action taken by the ministry earlier in the day was pursuant to an order of the Chief Justice discharging the conservatory order which previously prevented the ministry from removing the encroaching structure,” he further explained.

Minister Benn told the press that since 2007, his ministry has been issuing notices of violation to the proprietor of BM Soat, Bashir Mohamed, but to no avail.

However, this year, Mohamed reportedly assured the Public Works Ministry that on Friday, December 27 the illegal erections would have been removed. But Mohamed reneged on his promise, forcing the ministry to take stern action.

Abuse of judicial process

“In view of the foregoing, the ministry views the resort to further action in the court as an attempt by Mohamed to abuse the judicial process and an affront to the government,” he said.

According to the public works minister, the non-removal of the fence has cost the government $40 million, as it is currently stalling the ongoing road expansion project along the East Coast of Demerara.

“The ministry finds alarming Mr Mohamed’s attitude of the disregard for the rights of surrounding land owners, while at the same he seeks of the court for alleged violations of his own. At the moment, he is embroiled in court proceedings with his neighbours to the west for encroaching on their land,” he added. (Guyana Times)