|Some businesses to reexamine road works compensation|
Guardian Staff Reporter
Published: Jun 27, 2012
After the Christie administration recently committed to continue the compensation of business owners adversely affected by the New Providence Road Improvement Project, two prominent businessmen who did not take the program seriously before said they will now consider applying.
Former Robin Hood President Sandy Schaefer and president of Superwash Dionisio D'Aguilar both said that they did not take the compensation program, originally started under the Ingraham administration, seriously.
“I thought it was a gimmick and when the election was over I thought it would just go away,” said D'Aguilar yesterday. “As a result I didn’t waste my time in filling out the form.”
Schaefer shared similar sentiments.
“What was the point of that exercise? It was political,” he said.
Schaefer blamed the road works for the ultimate closure of both Robin Hood locations.
However, both businessmen have since changed their views on applying for compensation.
“I think on a point of principal I will apply,” said D'Aguilar.
He said he will base his expectations of compensation on the cost of having to adjust how customers gained access to his businesses and not by how much money he lost.
He said in the worst instance, the project took 25 percent of a parking lot at one of his businesses and he now has to ‘dig’ into his pocket to redesign the area.
“Every Superwash has been impacted, every location has been impacted and there have been a total of five,” he said.
“It’s very hard to quantify [the cost of a compensation] and let’s face it, The Bahamas government is financially strapped.
“That’s why I’m surprised they’re even doing it.
“They may look at me as someone who can afford to absorb these costs and may not even be interested in helping me, but [intend to focus on] helping people who are in the smaller businesses that have been shut down and severely impacted.”
Schaefer said people have to be practical in their expectations of what the government can offer them.
“The government doesn’t have any money,” he said. “[So] anything you can get is an advantage.”
Minister of State for Finance Michael Halkitis noted on Sunday that while some people may receive cash grants, not all business owners will get money.
On March 21, the Ministry of Finance began conducting a door-to-door survey to determine how adversely businesses along the corridors of the project have been impacted.
Before the former government left office, it said two business owners received about $7,000 each.