Business owners must  rebuild elsewhere following demolition (+video)
‘Maro’s’ was a place for Karaoke, food and drink for those who frequented the area
April 5, 2022

Business owners must rebuild elsewhere following demolition (+video)

The structures at Arnos Vale previously perched alongside the river for decades were removed with sledgehammers last Thursday.

Pounding out nails from the strewn lumber so that they can be reused

The business owners had been given notice to remove their structures from state land and, in most cases, have collected a sum of money as compensation, but they have not been given a site for relocation which those affected said they value more.

The state’s reason for removing the structures is based around developments concerning the nearby bridge and road area.

The most recent notice apparently read that the owners had until March 31 to vacate. Previous notices had also been served by the Land and Surveys Department in September 2021.

According to the business persons, the demolition crew came with a force at around 9/9:30a.m.

Around 10 officers attached to the Rapid Response Unit (RRU) arrived with workers of the St Vincent Electricity Services Ltd (VINLEC) to first disconnect electricity from the structures.

“They come take off the light this morning and they just start to push us down one time,” Maxford Nickie, who cooks food and sells beverages disclosed at the scene on Thursday.

“They give us till the 31st, today’s the 31st, the day is not finished as yet,” the shopkeeper pointed out.

He had already bought items to cook for the day, but his pots, benches and stove stood outside the flattened structures. Customers who wanted to visit him appeared at noon to meet no shop standing.

Nickie had already begun to remove the structure before the crew arrived he had received a warning that the crews were coming.

The individual he had hired to help “was on the roof when they came (to) take off the light.”

An area that has been converted by one individual from a a trash dump to a place where plants may be obtained

They “just start to ‘Bam, bam, bam, bam’ with sledgehammers. So they basically trying to destroy your material.”

In the wake of the demolition, half of his structure was in the river, and Nickie had to get the help of someone to salvage the materials that had fallen down the bank.

“When them come they just want to come with their heavy force,” he complained.

He said that he was “frustrated” and that his young son was very upset.

It is his hope that he will find somewhere else to go in a month and a half’s time.

“The pressure is on” the father who used the profits from his business to support his children and family said, “to move and to rebuild.”

Nails littered the area from the dismantling and from persons hammering them out from pieces of lumber that they attempted to salvage.

Another man who was assisting Marilyn John of ‘Maro’s’ to dismantle her structure before the demolition crew arrived fell off a ladder and punctured his foot. He had to be taken to the health centre some time after the incident when a significant amount of blood began to pour from the wound.

John’s adult son had to help with the salvaging of materials.

“It real sad,” watching the structure get taken apart she said, “this is my livelihood now. Wuh going happen now?”. It also holds many memories for her.

She said that she would have preferred relocation. “Give me a spot and I don’t mind paying for it,” she said.