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GPL disconnects First Federation tenants

First Federation Building.

The Guyana Power and Light (GPL) at the weekend disconnected electricity supply from First Federation Building, prompting outcry and accusations that that is another move by government to evict the tenants.

The decades-old concrete building located on Croal Street and Manget Place, Stabroek is occupied by several lawyers, a summer school, a snackette and other small businesses.

Attorney-at-Law, Saphier Hussain planned to sue GPL for clipping his electricity supply. “I’m suing them for wrongful disconnection, wrongful removal of the meter and I am also suing the Public Trustee for breach of quiet enjoyment,” he told Demerara Waves Online News (www.demwaves.com).

Consumers said they late last week received letters dated July 15 from the GPL advising that their power would have been disconnected because of faulty wiring, an action that was taken last Saturday.

One of the letters seen by DemWaves states that the Government Electrical Inspectorate (GEI) conducted an inspection of the wiring at First Federation Building on Monday, April 15, 2013 and found that it was unfit to conduct electricity. “The investigation revealed that the electrical wiring and installation present a danger to life and property. Given these findings, the GEI concluded that the Guyana Power and Light Inc. should proceed to disconnect your supply of electricity,” states GPL’s Senior Divisional Director.

The letter was copied to Prime Minister Samuel Hinds, Attorney General and Minister Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall; Minister of Public Works and Communication, Robeson Benn; GPL’s Chief Executive Officer, Bharat Dindyal;  Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Aeshwar Deonarine; Legal Officer, Keith John and Chief Electrical Inspector, Roland Barclay.

When DemWaves visited the building, it was dark and stuffy. Computers in many offices were off, resulting in clerical work being ground to standstill. One of the teachers at Princeton College’s summer school said evening classes would definitely be cancelled because students would be unable to see. “What they did is really bad. These are poor students who dropped out of school. I’m teaching poor students so I will not be able to afford a generator,” said a teacher who preferred not to be named.

Hussain and fellow Attorney-at-Law Redver Greenidge said they both have had their premises inspected and no fault has been found. “I had my place inspected one month ago and the electrician found nothing wrong with the fittings to my office,” said Hussein.

Greenidge suggested that the authorities were using extra-legal tactics to force the tenants out. “He is trying to harass us, cutting off our light. We expect all kinds of things to happen,” said Greenidge.

Hussein, a tenant in First Federation Building since 1987, called Attorney General Anil Nandlall’s intention to possess the building for government’s own use “fraudulent.” “The property is not owned by the Government of Guyana. This is a fraudulent claim,” said Hussein.

Government wants to rehabilitate the building to house important offices of the judiciary.