Unresolved issues between Government and the Ram Mirchandani family including a dispute over remaining stock at the old Liquidation Centre, could further inflame the contentious state of affairs surrounding last year’s compulsory acquisition of the City warehouse building.
Barbados TODAY understands that nearly six months after the Mirchandanis were forcefully removed from the property, they have been unable to recover “millions” of dollars in stock still in the building. The structure is set to be demolished in the coming weeks to make way for a massive new hotel.
Since Prime Minister Mia Mottley’s recent announcement that demolition of the 20th-century warehouse would commence soon, the Bay Street property which once housed Tiny Tots Limited and Furniture Limited has been a hive of activity as workmen load remaining items into containers.
The Mirchandanis are also unsure where the stock is being stored.
On Thursday, the former property owners reportedly visited the Bay Street building to inspect stock, prompted by an exchange of letters, according to Ravi Mirchandani, Director of the family enterprise.
Mirchandani, however, claims he was denied entry by a private contractor said to be in charge of the ongoing work.
“I met with an individual who identified himself as the person in charge and a private contractor, clad in slippers, cargo shorts and removed face mask. He denied me access to examine our property and closed the doors in front of me,” he told Barbados TODAY.
The two entities are still at odds about who should pay for removal and storage of the remaining stock, and who should cover severance payments owed to axed employees.
In addition, the Mirchandanis are preparing to file further legal action for stock which the family claims was damaged over the last five months, a spokesperson for the family has revealed.
“We have never abandoned our stock. In fact, we have been denied access since November 18, 2019, and today we had anticipated some progress in this saga only to be met with aggression and disrespect.
“In my visit today, I saw that the stock is being mishandled, damaged and there are still plenty items in the building and we are wondering whether the building would be demolished before they are removed,” he added.
Last year, the Government had given the owners exactly 30 days ending November 15, 2019, to vacate the property and warned that if they did not leave by November 18, active possession would be taken, and remaining items “moved to storage”.
A massive flash sale was unsuccessful in clearing all of the company’s stock when the Government moved in amid requests for a few extra months.
“Based on the last day of the sale and how busy it was, it was clear people were interested in buying.
“So obviously the goods have value, but the [Government] stopped them from being able to sell them and they stopped them from being able to move them as well,” said Mirchandani.
“We obviously would like it to be over and to be up and running with a new business. We don’t intend to close doors but if they want us to extinguish our business, then we will need to be compensated for everything,” he added.
The Attorney General’s office has reportedly remained resolute in its refusal to cover the disputed expenses.
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