Chairman of the Tenants Association Gerald McFarlane has once again made it clear that the tenants now occupying the NIB Mall intend to stay-put, even after the deadline to evacuate expires on May 1. The business people were served with ‘Notices to Quit’ a month ago. The tenants told Tobago News they are awaiting the outcome of a meeting between NIB and the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) before deciding on their next move. Chief Secretary Orville London has opted to be a mediator in the situation.
In a media release issued recently, Chief Secretary London said the NIB mall has not reached the level of deterioration as was originally portrayed by the NIB Board. The release noted that independent research has been done by two reputable Tobago engineers, Dr. Allison Williams and Junior Henry whose conclusion is significantly different from those of the NIB Mall engineers. The release went on to state that the building is not at any imminent danger and the structural integrity of the Mall has not been compromised. London noted that there are various types of modern-day technology that can be used to bring the structure up to code for proper functionality.
Meanwhile, MacFarlane described the approach of the NIB thus far to be disingenuous. “They started on the wrong foot and were very unprofessional”. He went on to say that the first meeting ended prematurely. However, the NIB did apologize for their initial approach even though not much has changed since then.
Chief Secretary London hopes that the meeting will accomplish one of two things. “Either we are in a position where we can agree on a way forward from the technical information that has been brought to the table or conversely we can agree on an individual or a firm or a process that will guarantee when the process is concluded or the individual or firm report that all parties will accept that.”
Despite the stance taken by most of the businesses, some of the businesses at the mall have decided to close operations. Most of the businesses in the lower level of the mall have launched massive discounts as part of the ‘Closing down Sale’. Others are staying put and wants to assure the public that they are ignoring the eviction notice. The tenants would also like to assure the public that the building is safe for habitation and business.