Immediate inspections needed in business districts

first_imgDear Editor,A fire on Robb Street, Georgetown this past week has really brought home a number of many important and dangerous issues which need to be addressed immediately by the authorities.I have operated a business in Regent Street, Georgetown for the past 15 years and I could recall that there were three frightening major fires within the last few years in the area between Camp and Alexander Streets, with all of them being in relatively close proximity to each other: the former Kissoon facility at Camp and Robb Streets; the Chinese store on Regent Street where four or five buildings were destroyed; and now the four-storey building on Robb Street.One would wonder if the relevant authorities make periodic inspections at these business places to ensure that fire prevention rules, electrical regulations, business licences and other required compliance issues are in order, since the overwhelming public perception is that many of the business owners try to do “their own thing” regardless of what the law specifies.Fires are terrifying for residents and businesses where the loss of property, businesses and lives are always of major concern, and citizens must voice those concerns to get authorities to take remedial actions.The Guyana Fire Service seems to be in need of an overhaul, which must include training and testing for rapid deployment and suppression of fires.As a business owner with friends who have suffered losses due to fire, I feel that the authorities are not doing their jobs to prevent fires.Case in point is a busy welding shop located under an old, dilapidated and unpainted wooden house, located behind an old and unpainted wooden building in Robb Street, a few doors from the last fire. The welding shop uses welding torches with open flames and other tools that generate sparks. There are many other welding shops, cook shops, mechanic shops and other such businesses that use open flames which are not licenced for those activities, nor were they ever inspected by the Fire Service or other Government agencies. Why should others have to suffer because of these illegal businesses and the failure of the Fire Service and other Government Officers to inspect them?Where any business operation, legal or illegal, has the potential to cause destruction to property and lives, they must be regulated as permissible by law or shutdown forthwith, if they are not in compliance with the law and pose a threat to the community. The seat-warmers at the Fire Service and other Government Offices need to walk around the city and locate all such businesses and ensure they are complying with the laws before we have another spreading fire in the city.With so many high-rise buildings in the city today, authorities should plan for emergencies, especially in the event of a fire. The Fire Service and the Police should have coordinated training activities to deal with high-rise building emergencies. Tow trucks should be on hand to tow away any vehicles blocking the deployment of the Fire Trucks.The Guyana Police Force should be commended for their control of the area around the Robb Street fire which prevented a repeat of the mass looting that occurred at the Regent and Camp Streets fire. It was a welcoming sight to see Police reinforcements arrive, but while the situation was already under control on the street, more work still needs to be done in crime prevention at building fires. While citizens should be thankful for the services offered by the Fire and Police Services, we know that they can do a much better job with more training and practice of their skills.I am hoping that the authorities will take immediate action to inspect all businesses to ensure they are in compliance with fire and other regulations.Yours faithfully,Clayton R Harrislast_img read more