Leader of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) Verla DePeiza has come to the defence of businesswoman Asha Mrs Ram Mirchandani, whose property was compulsory acquired by Government.
In a press release today, DePeiza chastised the ruling Barbados Labour Party (BLP) Government for its decision to take over Mirchandani’s Liquidation Centre business on Lower Bay Street.
Government compulsorily acquired the land earlier this year to make way for the construction of the Hyatt Hotel.
But DePeiza argued that Mrs Ram had done much for Barbadians and deserved to be treated better.
“The Democratic Labour Party has watched with alarm as one of the icons in merchandising in Barbados is being summarily stripped of her property and business.
“Mrs. Ram has serviced the working-class sector of Barbados and has been a fixture of the local retail sector for half a century and should be celebrated for her contributions over the years,” she contended. “In fact, former Barbados Prime Minister, the late David Thompson, is one of hundreds who acquired a vacation job at one of her businesses during their school careers.”
The DLP president said what made matters even worse was that Government had opted to displace workers with the Christmas season approaching.
“The action of forcing her out before Christmas affects not only her but also the members of staff who suddenly find themselves on the breadline compliments of the Government of Barbados,” she noted.
She said while it was the DLP’s understanding that Mirchandani’s property was being acquired to make room for the Hyatt Hotel, the project was a private sector enterprise.
Depeiza said she was at a loss about why Government was continually using the force of law and taxpayers’ money to push the agenda of private developers in this matter.
“This Mottley administration must come clean and live up to its promise of transparency and tell the people of Barbados what is the public purpose here.
“A town hall meeting is called for Tuesday by the Hyatt developers and we would wish to know if the environmental impact assessment which was one of the so-called impediments to construction under a DLP administration has been completed,” she queried.
“We would wish the Government to tell the country why the Government is bullying a businesswoman out of her business and putting Barbadians on the breadline at Christmas on behalf of a private project.”
Depeiza described Government’s decision as a “stunningly high-handed and uncaring move”.
She said while the BLP had marketed itself as caring, at every turn, it has disappointed the electorate which placed such overwhelming confidence in them.
Depeiza said it was becoming increasingly apparent to many Barbadians that the BLP Government “cares only for a small sector of the society in which we all must survive”.