Business owners in eastern New Providence are calling on the Christie administration to begin speaking with them about the ongoing road closures that have inconvenienced their businesses for more than a year.
The members of the Prince Charles Drive Business Association (PCDBA) argue that their businesses have suffered significant financial losses as result of the New Providence Road Improvement Project (NPRIP).
Furthermore, the group said that the government has refused to meet at the bargaining table to discuss how it plans to deal with the road situation and whether it plans to follow through on the previous administration’s plans to offer some form of compensation to adversely affected businesses.
“We have been trying for weeks now to get them [the government] to begin some form of dialogue with us and we have not heard anything from them,” said Fred Rahming, president of the PCDBA.
“We have been hurting for far too long and this government refuses to even talk with us.”
Last year, business owners staged several demonstrations in protest of the road closures and at that time they criticised the previous administration for failing to consult with them about the road works.
Last summer, most of the stretch of road along Prince Charles Drive between Sea Breeze and Fox Hill Road was closed to traffic and subsequently left many business owners fearful that they would be forced to close down operations.
Mr. Rahming said motorists have been inconvenienced for weeks because they have been prevented from accessing Fox Hill Road south at the Prince Charles Drive intersection. Fox Hill Road northbound has now been closed.
He said the road closures were done without advisory or consultation with business owners or residents in the area.
“This is really upsetting to people trying to operate a business along this road,” Mr. Rahming said.
“Since these road works started, we have all felt losses in our businesses and many of us have begun to pump more capital in our businesses in hopes of improving our current state. But how can we be expected to put more capital in our businesses if we have no guarantee that the roads will be opened to allow us to operate our businesses.”
He continued, “We really just want to appeal to the government to hear us and respond to us, we are hurting and we desperately need for this government to talk with us.”
The association said it will hold more demonstrations if the government fails to address its concerns and engage in dialogue with the business owners.
The Bahama Journal made several calls to the Ministry of Works for comment, however, those calls went unanswered.