More city street vendors lose court battle

by George Barclay
Guyana Chronicle
October 10, 2000

ANOTHER set of street vendors in the city lost a court battle against the Mayor and Town Council yesterday.

Chief Justice Desiree Bernard dismissed their application for a continued stay of execution and ruled that the council's claim that they had breached an agreement in relation to the operation of stalls on the Water Street pavement will have to be determined by the Full Court.

The Full Court will meet on October 20 to determine the matter.

Vendors from Regent Street, evicted by a court order after losing a case against the City Council, have appealed the court decision.

The other sellers, 53 of them headed by Grantley Lewis, had in accordance with an agreement with the City Council, been given permission to construct stalls on the Water Street pavements.

But according to the terms of the agreement, they should have operated from 7 a.m. to 6.p.m.

The vendors and the council came to loggerheads when City Hall claimed they had breached the agreement by not only operating after 6 p.m. but had extended their stalls and refused to remove them after 6 p.m. as was specified in the accord.

In January of this year the council took the vendors to court and got an injunction from Justice Desmond Burch-Smith restraining them from operating after hours and ordering them to remove the offending parts of the stalls.

The vendors appealed the decision and approached another High Court judge, Justice Nandram Kissoon, who varied Justice Burch-Smith's order to read that the vendors should operate from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. but the stalls could remain.

Still dissatisfied with the High Court order, the vendors approached the Chief Justice who granted them a stay of execution until yesterday with the hope that both parties would have reached an amicable solution by then.

When the sellers turned up before the Chief Justice yesterday, they were represented by lawyer Mr Nigel Hughes.

On the other hand the City Council was represented by Mr Robert Ramcharran.

After both lawyers reported no progress to Chief Justice Bernard, the Court ruled that the Full Court will hear the substantive appeal on October 20.

As a consequence the leaders of the Water Street vendors whose story is entirely different to that of their Regent Street colleagues, left the court a sad bunch.

But they had left behind the Regent Street vendors who up to late yesterday were still waiting to get a stay of execution from Justice of Appeal Carl Singh.

Justice Singh who had tried the matter had dismissed the injunction that gave the sellers the temporary right to vend in Regent Street, resulting in their being evicted by the council two weekends ago.

They (the Regent Street vendors) have appealed Justice Singh's ruling and are seeking a stay of execution.

Proposed talks between Georgetown Mayor Hamilton Green and the evicted Regent Street vendors did not materialise Thursday as arranged because the sellers had again taken the matter before the courts.

Green told the Chronicle Wednesday that he had been asked by President Bharrat Jagdeo to meet three of the vendors.

However, 10 of them turned up for the meeting Thursday.

Spokesperson for the vendors, Mr Abdul Kadir explained that when they met Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr Roger Luncheon on Wednesday, it was argued that three persons were not enough to speak on behalf of the 200-odd vendors who had occupied Regent Street.

It is understood that the vendors hope to meet the President on the issue.

Follow the goings-on in Guyana
in Guyana Today