It appears that there are efforts afoot to frustrate her and stifle her business-expansion venture, says Jahleejah Peace, the proprietor of the Natural Livity Ital Restaurant.
A structure erected by Peace was demolished on Wednesday, February 16, by the Development Control Authority (DCA). The agency claimed it posed a public-safety risk and that permission had not been granted for it to be erected over a natural water course.
Peace says she submitted to the DCA a plan for a container to be transformed into a restaurant and culture shop, a similar concept to a business she once operated in the Virgin Islands.
The businesswoman says she was told that the location – in the vicinity of the East Country Pond – is earmarked for development; yet, when she sought to get further details she was given the runaround.
Peace’s opinion is that the Government does not offer any support to young business owners, which she finds very frustrating.
The restaurant, which serves vegetarian and vegan food, has been in operation at its current location for almost two years.
Meanwhile, Peace says she did not know that permission was needed for the simple structure she had erected, since it was not a requirement in the Virgin Islands where she lived. Further, she denies that the structure was constructed entirely from pallets, which the DCA says is a hazard to the environment.
In the meantime, Franz deFreitas, the United Progressive Party (UPP) Candidate for St. John’s City South, in whose constituency the business operates, says he is disappointed with the response of the Minister with responsibility for the DCA, Maria Browne.
Browne reportedly responded to a post on the City South Facebook page, saying that the structure was illegal and a hazard to school children.
DeFreitas says that Browne and her husband, Prime Minister Gaston Browne, cares nothing for this country’s entrepreneurs; only for themselves, their family and friends.
Meanwhile, other residents believe that Peace’s reported support for deFreitas’ community activitism is the cause of the DCA’s demolition of her premises.