The Geelal's Super Wholesaler and Distributor company is not accepting blame for the traffic woes on El Socorro Road, San Juan. Almost a week after published media reports about indiscriminate parking and traffic congestion outside of the business place, a spokesman for the establishment said yesterday, "Geelal is not responsible for that (traffic)." The man, in a telephone exchange, refused to give his name or his association with the business when T&T Guardian contacted the store. He said those who were complaining were "illiterate" and that taxi-drivers were the ones causing the pile-up. The man said the business provided a car park for its customers.
He said: "Mr Geelal does not drive (taxi) or is a driver (taxi) and he cannot be responsible for someone driving a car when he is not here. "If they don't want traffic then make the area residential and not commercial." Last week T&T Guardian was told owner Primnath Geelal was out of the country and was expected to return in July. However, the man said, he would return on June 26 from Miami but leave again very soon after. The man said there were other businesses which should be investigated and there was no need to single out Geelal's which had been operating for decades. Taxi-drivers expressed frustration over the matter saying they spent up to half an hour in traffic because delivery trucks and customers patronising the business often double park.
On Monday several taxi-driver members of the El Socorro Taxi-Drivers' Association staged a protest outside the business which had closed its doors. MP for the Barataria/ San Juan constituency Dr Fuad Khan appealed to the public for good sense. Several taxi-drivers yesterday said they would keep up their protest action until the problem was solved. The association is expected to hold a meeting soon to discuss its next course of action. The man also said when businesses "like these" are vindicated (victimised), the only thing left to do was to migrate.
"It is businessmen who create jobs, provide transport and assist with unemployment and no matter how much car park you provide there will never be sufficient," he said. He said the El Socorro area was "vastly commercial." He said taxi-drivers often had face-to-face encounters as a result of the traffic chaos by "stopping, picking up and parking up" and that "Mr Geelal was not going to take a cuff for that."
When T&T Guardian visited the area there were several large delivery trucks parked in front of the store towards the corner of Fazal Avenue. It was impossible to turn right from Fazal Avenue on to El Socorro Road because of the size of the trucks offloading goods. The area was monitored for close to 90 minutes and there was a constant pile-up of close to a dozen cars proceeding north and south.