Evicted city street vendors dispute council statements

Guyana Chronicle
October 13, 2000

THE displaced Regent Street vendors are not in agreement with some of the statements in a press release issued by the City Council concerning their temporary location on a section of the Merriman's Mall.

The council issued the release after Mayor Hamilton Green, councillors and vendors' representatives met President Bharrat Jagdeo and several of his Cabinet ministers on the issue on Monday.

Others at the meeting were Prime Minister Sam Hinds; Minister within the Ministry of Local Government, Mr Clinton Collymore; Minister of Housing and Water, Mr Shaik Baksh; Deputy Mayor, Mr Robert Williams; Town Clerk, Ms Beulah Williams; Clerk of Markets, Mr Errol Brisport, six councillors; and a delegation of street vendors led by Mr Mansa Amin.

Amin yesterday said the vendors are not in favour of the decision by the City Council that the stretch of land on the Merriman's Mall, between Orange Walk and Cummings Street will provide an opportunity for a temporary solution to assist those vendors removed from Regent Street.

The council said the sides at the meeting had agreed that the sanctity of Regent Street should be maintained, with no vending allowed and the order of the court respected.

The spokesperson for the vendors stated that there was no such agreement made by the group.

However, the vendors obtained a letter from their attorney-at-law, Mr Nigel Hughes indicating where they would like to conduct their business.

These include near the Fire Service base, John Ford Car Park, the Bourda Cemetery and Bourda Street.

Public Relations Officer of the City Council, Mr Royston King maintained that the vendors agreed to everything discussed at the meeting.

According to him, the vendors want to dictate where they want to go, and the City Council will not allow this to occur.

"The City Council can't allow vendors to go on like that", he declared.

The City Council evicted vendors from Regent Street two weekends ago after a judge ruled against the sellers who had opposed the municipality's steps to block them from selling on the pavement and in front of stores.

The vendors are challenging the court injunction restraining them from selling on Regent Street and the matter comes up for hearing next Wednesday.

City Hall said the meeting at the Office of the President was cordial and there was a "genuine attempt at compromise".

It said all sides recognised the "complex issues involved and agreed to work for the greater good of the city".

City Hall said the sides agreed that the stretch of land on Merriman's Mall between Orange Walk and Cummings Street "provides the opportunity for a temporary solution to assist those vendors who are removed from Regent Street."

"Wholesalers are now using this area, but with the cooperation of the Ministry of Works, this section will be prepared, in a manner, to allow for this additional use without compromising the wholesalers' activity", the council said.

The sellers say they want to stay on Regent Street until after the Christmas season. (STACEY DAVIDSON)

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