End this chaos

Guyana Chronicle
October 5, 2000

ALL Guyanese, irrespective of political affiliation or persuasion, who are anxious for Georgetown to return to its glory days as the famed "Garden City" of the Caribbean, should be pleased with the new determination by the City Council to combat the chaotic situation resulting from the uncooperative behaviour of vendors.

For too long Georgetown has been suffering from the painful image of a "garbage dump" city where vendors create chaos on the streets and pavements in defiance of the law, and to the inconvenience and shame of all yearning for cleanliness and order.

Now, fortified with a High Court ruling, the City Council swiftly moved against vendors who were creating problems in Regent Street.

But this is not the only section of the city's commercial centre affected and the problem has to be treated with a firm and even hand wherever it exists.

At the same time, while the hitherto affected business enterprises could breathe a sigh of relief from the problems created by the vendors, it is only just that every effort be made to assist the vendors to have access to alternative locations to earn an honest livelihood.

It is, therefore, understandable why Prime Minister Sam Hinds quickly met a delegation of the vendors and discussed potential sites for possible accommodation and recommended a bipartisan approach to find an early and practical solution.

It is also not surprising that the Clerical and Commercial Workers Union (CCWU) should have come out in open support for the removal of the vendors.

After all workers at the affected commercial business houses are represented by the union.

Mayor Hamilton Green has reacted sharply and emotionally to suggestions advanced by the Prime Minister.

Even if we disagree with the Mayor's response, the fact is that he too has come under severe pressures for a long time to end the illegal, chaotic vending problem and to clean up the mess that makes areas of the city so very depressing.

Vendors protest

The vendors who have been engaged in protest actions have to be careful that they do not create more problems for themselves by resorting to illegal acts against store owners and workers.

They can hardly expect to win support for their cause.

With general elections very much in the air, there must be a conscious effort on all sides to desist from scoring political points, and the vendors must ensure that they are no one's pawns.

Nor should either the Mayor and Town Council or the Police back away from their respective responsibility.

The vendors' interests must, of necessity, be taken into consideration.

But it is high time for the lawlessness that have become all too familiar in our political culture to stop.

Those who encourage defiance of the law, as well as those resisting an honest search for alternative locations for the vendors, can hardly have the good of either the vendors or our capital city at heart.

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