Differences over proposals for city street vendors

Guyana Chronicle
October 4, 2000

DEPUTY City Mayor, Mr Robert Williams yesterday said he did not have discussions with Prime Minister Sam Hinds on proposals to help some 200 street vendors removed by court order last week from Regent Street.

"I have had absolutely no meeting or discussion with the Prime Minister regarding this issue", Williams told a news conference yesterday.

Mr Hinds, in Canada yesterday for the funeral of former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, in a statement issued Monday urged "displaced street vendors and other stakeholders" to consider:

** as a temporary arrangement, the levelling of empty lots for use as off-the-road vending, parking and play areas;

** arranging to use the old John Ford car park for vending and

** using Parade Ground on Middle Street and the St Phillips Green as a sort of terminus for mini-buses.

Williams was one of three persons the Prime Minister named as being among a number he had found to be, directly and indirectly, and in varying degrees, supportive of the proposals.

The Prime Minister said he had "found directly and indirectly sympathetic support in varying degrees for the above proposals amongst Mr Manzoor Nadir, Mr Stanley Ming Deputy Mayor Williams and others".

He had also expected them to "be the core of a working group to immediately consider and implement solutions".

Mr Hinds indicated the proposals were in an IDB (Inter-American Development Bank) report done nearly six years ago and had been widely circulated.

Referring to the eviction of the street vendors, the Prime Minister said he had always "been aware that such a time like this would come and in anticipation some six years ago, with the assistance of IDB, had a study made of how to resolve and reconcile the problem of congestion, street vending and mini-bus parking, and had copies widely circulated".

City Mayor Mr Hamilton Green seemed to have picked up on this at the news conference yesterday when he said: "One of the statements made in the report, apparently to which the Prime Minister alluded, is this whole question of ad hoc planning".

He quoted the statement as saying that "the relocation of street vendors must be part of the policies and actions coordinated within the programme for the re-arranging of the central area of the city". It went on to say that "the problem of street vendors cannot be dealt with in isolation, giving on-the-spot solutions as has been done in the past. It is important to present a plan of action which harmonises with the diverse interest groups".

Green said this is why he was not just saddened but surprised that the Prime Minister "should be so precipitous and...ill-advised as to make such a statement given the circumstances."

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