Govt to clamp down on incumbrances on roadside from Monday

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Public Works Minister Juan Edghill

After urging persons to remove all hindrances and derelict objects along the public road network last week, the Public Works Ministry will be rolling out an exercise from Monday to remove all incumbrances across the country.

This was revealed by subject Minister, Juan Edghill, who noted that the notice served as voluntary compliance by citizens but this will no longer apply come next week.

“That period of asking to move is over. As of Monday, the Ministry of Public Works will begin to move derelicts, sand, stone, debris – everything that is in the path and is encumbering the road shoulders throughout the length and breadth of Guyana,” he posited.

In fact, he revealed that persons over the past week, have been contacting the Ministry to look into specific areas where such incumbrances are posing dangers.

The Ministry, in its notice, had reminded that the road reserve is the property of the Government and persons who have been occupying and encroaching these reserves have made it unsafe for all road users.

As such, the Public Works Ministry sought to have persons remove all encroachment on road reserves. These include derelict vehicles or equipment, immovable vehicles, hardware stores, barber shops, rum shops, builder’s waste, roadside shop, car parks, sawmills, cargo containers, scrap iron dealers, sand or stone heap, mobile vending cart, tyre servicing, mud dumping, workshop, non-derelict object, concrete mixing, non-approved sign board, paddy drying, raised driveway and mechanic shop.

The Ministry said it will use appropriate measures against those who fail to comply and have those encumbrances removed and charges will be administered in accordance with Chapter 51:01 of the Road Act of the Laws of Guyana.

But with a few days remaining until Monday’s clamp down exercise, Minister Edghill is urging persons to comply.

“We still got some time… we gotto do some cleaning up, we gotto do some movements. We gotta do some changes. If not, the Ministry of Public Works will remove [the incumbrances] and if you come to claim it, the only way you will get it is if you pay us what it cost us to move it,” he asserted.

The Public Works Minister went on to assure that they are not going to interfere with persons who are currently engaging in construction work and have materials such as sand and stones on the roadside. But those who have such items and others for a lengthy time will face the heat.

Moreover, the Public Works Minister was also quick to clarify that by clearing the road reserves of not just derelicts but other incumbrances as well, it is not Government’s intention to rid persons who operate on the roadside of their means of livelihoods.

Hindrance to development

“We want you to make a living. President Irfaan Ali is clear in his directions to us about not interrupting life and livelihoods of people but that doesn’t mean that you have to block and interfere with the development that is taking [place]. We gotta marry the two things together in a balanced way.”

“[But] then we have a set of people who believe they own the Government reserves that they now putting in wooden pickets to prevent parking and anybody going close to them; and they’re putting big bricks and boulders. It might be a good thing in your head but it is a very difficult and dangerous thing for security, safety and for the saving of life,” he contended.

Edghill made these remarks on Friday at the contract signing for the Ogle-to-Eccles bypass road project.

At the Ogle, East Coast Demerara end of the four-lane alignment, local engineers were forced to call in the Police after persons occupying the Government reserves refused to move in order to make way for preparatory works for Friday’s sod-turning on the road alignment.

The Public Works Minister contended that such lawless behaviour cannot be condoned.

“I want to send a clear message, lawlessness and recklessness and those who have ulterior motives – whether they are being fuelled by political agenda or not – will not stop President Irfaan Ali and his Administration from executing what we have committed and promised the people of Guyana, that is, to transform and modernise Guyana. It will not stop us,” he asserted.

According to Edghill, persons have to adjust their thinking, especially when it comes to such big projects that transform the landscape of the country and benefits thousands of residents.

“If somebody comes out with a dog food stand or a cart selling food, or somebody decides to go on the reserves and wash a car – calling it a car wash, should we allow as a country that to stop Guyana’s development?… We can’t allow that,” the Minister stressed.