Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Otres vendors reject ‘gifts’

Otres vendors reject ‘gifts’

Otres vendors reject ‘gifts’

100706_5

REPRESENTATIVES of 70 business owners and landless vendors slated for eviction from Sihanoukville’s Otres beach rejected an offer of cash “gifts” made by Preah Sihanouk provincial officials at a meeting yesterday.

Eng Phanith, one of the representatives, said authorities proposed giving lump-sum payments of US$3,500 to business owners and $1,000 to landless vendors if they were to voluntarily vacate a 1.5-kilometre stretch of the beach.

He said the group rejected the offer because it would not cover the cost of renting comparable land elsewhere.

“I won’t accept that compensation because it is too small. I can’t buy another place to make a business like my current one,” he said. Instead, he proposed a sum of $5,000 for business owners and $2,500 for vendors.

He added that he had been told by officials that they would take the counter-offer into consideration.

Preah Sihanouk provincial officials scheduled yesterday’s meeting after the business owners and vendors refused to comply with a June 30 eviction deadline. Officials have said they want to develop a municipal garden on the land.

Preah Sihanouk deputy governor Sok Phorn confirmed yesterday that he would take the group’s request to his superiors for consideration. He also emphasised that the money offered yesterday was not compensation.

“It is a gift or present for the vendors because those people live on a public beach and the state needs the beach to develop it,” he said.

“It is a strategy of the government because they don’t want to move, but these plans have been in place for a long time.”

He added that he could not make a decision on the counteroffer before obtaining the approval of his superiors, and that he expected to have a response within a week.

Ahead of the eviction deadline last week, provincial officials ruled out any form of compensation for the vendors and business owners, citing the fact that the stretch of beach was state-owned. Chan Chamroeun, provincial monitor for human rights group Adhoc, which is mediating
negotiations along with members of Licadho, another rights group, praised the provincial government’s willingness to compromise at yesterday’s meeting.

“Before, authorities had no intention of discussing this face to face with the business owners and vendors. But now authorities have changed their attitude,” he said, and added that he was optimistic that the negotiations would succeed.

Sor Kem, owner of Sunshine Cafe, a small bar and restaurant on the beach, said yesterday that he hoped officials also considered another solution the group suggested: moving the affected business owners and vendors to another beach.

“They’re thinking about it. This is another option, but it’s going to take a long time,” he said. “They said if they can find [the land], they can give it to us – they will let us know.”

RECOMMENDED STORIES

  • Breaking: PM says prominent human rights NGO ‘must close’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has instructed the Interior Ministry to investigate the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) and potentially close it “because they follow foreigners”, appearing to link the rights group to the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party's purported “revolution”. The CNRP - the

  • Rainsy and Sokha ‘would already be dead’: PM

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sunday appeared to suggest he would have assassinated opposition leaders Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha had he known they were promising to “organise a new government” in the aftermath of the disputed 2013 national elections. In a clip from his speech

  • Massive ceremony at Angkor Wat will show ‘Cambodia not in anarchy’: PM

    Government officials, thousands of monks and Prime Minister Hun Sen himself will hold a massive prayer ceremony at Angkor Wat in early December to highlight the Kingdom’s continuing “peace, independence and political stability”, a spectacle observers said was designed to disguise the deterioration of

  • PM tells workers CNRP is to blame for any sanctions

    In a speech to workers yesterday, Prime Minister Hun Sen pinned the blame for any damage inflicted on Cambodia’s garment industry by potential economic sanctions squarely on the opposition party. “You must remember clearly that if the purchase orders are reduced, it is all