Vendors dismantle 100 downtown stalls

by Amanda Wilson
Guyana Chronicle
March 13, 2000

CITY HALL's `Time to Take Back the Streets' exercise continued yesterday with vendors dismantling their own stalls under the watchful eyes of members from the City Constabulary.

The exercise saw the removal of some 100 stalls, which were erected in front of J.P. Santos, the Guyana Bank of Trade and Industry (GBTI) both on Water Street, as well as in the vicinity of Robb Street.

Head of the Engineering Unit of the Mayor and City Council (M&CC), Mr L. Alleyne, said the exercise came as a result of notices served on stall owners warning them to remove their structures.

According to him, the vendors were given a February 27 ultimatum, after which the Council would have moved against defaulters.

Alleyne said the exercise will continue throughout the City until all the encumbrances are removed from the streets.

The official said that vendors, who were not present, but whose stalls were dismantled, will be allowed to uplift their goods from City Hall, after paying a fee.

"Those goods were taken to City Hall for safe-keeping, and persons can uplift them after paying a fee," Alleyne said, adding that other vendors were allowed to keep their stuff.

Explaining the decision to conduct the exercise yesterday, Alleyne said it was because of less vending and the traffic being very light.

"It is time to take back our streets and pavements. Vendors are taking over the pavements and littering around the City," he remarked.

Assistant Superintendent Moore said the ongoing exercise is to ensure all illegal structures erected along pavements, bridges and parapets are removed.

He noted that some stalls are constructed in front of business places, and in some instances, vendors use them as sleeping quarters.

One Water Street vendor said they were all aware that the decision to have them vend there was just temporary.

He pointed out, though, that he and other vendors pay weekly fees to City Hall and are willing to remove if given a permanent location.

The vendor added that he and others had approached City Hall officials with a view to transforming the Guyana Stores bond into a shopping area.

"The bond is vacant and we went to several persons, including the Mayor, for things to be put in place so we can turn it into a shopping area. But nothing has materialised," the man explained.

He said the bond is big enough to house vendors from the almost all the areas and while they are willing to help put things in place so they can occupy it, they are being pushed around.

"Everyone has responsibilities and has to work to meet them. Some vendors have three and four children going to school and are on the streets everyday working hard to exist," he lamented.

According to him, some vendors whose stalls were dismantled were forced to pay more than $2,000 to have their goods taken to alternative spots.