West Hamilton clamping seems so unfair
For the past two years, West Hamilton Ltd has been losing money for shareholders, according to its annual financial report released in February 2020.
What is West Hamilton, you may ask?
It is a property located outside the boundaries of Hamilton and is best recognised for its large empty parking lot.
Interestingly, the recent financial statement reports that it is 100 per cent leased and everyone in the management emphasises that fact. Who is actually renting them at $220 a month? Why is it such a big talking point? There seems to be little marking for the so-called parking spaces in the typically vacant three-storey parking lot, yet it is reported as a large part of their revenue.
It seems that unbeknown to those who may have been using the West Hamilton parking area recently to support the struggling local businesses for breakfast, beauty care and healthcare that West Hamilton has started to clamp cars for cash. There have been about five clampings this week.
Rather than merely place a friendly reminder or even paste an annoying sticker, they clamp the car on the first offence and place a flyer on the windscreen. The most annoying thing is that there is no one in the office to answer the calls to have the cars unclamped. And if it is after 4pm or on the weekends, they do not feel compelled to respond. So, if you are a mother with children or a senior moving slowly, that is not their problem.
With many people unemployed, struggling for food, and lacking the cash, the answer from chief financial officer Harrichand Sukdeo is the car will remain clamped until paid — at $200 a day. Whereas he has been reported by staff to be able to waive the charges, as CFO he is under pressure to create revenue as the company’s financials slump further.
A call to Harri, as he likes to be called, said it is up to the “parking lot company”, but calls go to his office. The office is located behind a wood-panelled office front, behind the glass doors on the ground floor of the Belvedere Building.
Curiously, it does not have a name plate on its well-appointed entrance. Why are they hiding? Therefore, those poor souls without the $200 who cannot find the means to reclaim their mobility are left on the kerb. It is an odd choice for local company to extract cash from struggling Bermudians from an empty parking lot. Forget your groceries, West Hamilton wants your cash.
Maybe with Albouy’s parking closed, West Hamilton Ltd could make the ground-floor section of their three-storey parking lot on Pitts Bay Road available for parking as a community service, instead of adding to the challenge of transport in Bermuda. Or they could make it available on an hourly-paid basis as a courtesy.