Some vendors vow to return to Regent Street sites

Guyana Chronicle
October 16, 2000

THE dispute between the evicted Regent Street vendors and the City Council continues, and vendors say that they will resume business on Regent Street, in spite of the legal situation.

A Friday press release from the Regent Street Vendors Association said the vendors will not accept any decision to prevent them from earning an income "by plying our trade on Regent Street".

"Thus, we have decided to continue our business on Regent Street, but in accordance with the law and hopefully with the acceptance of all reasonable thinking citizens of Georgetown and the country as a whole.

"We have further decided to resume our business on Saturday October 14, 2000 and we seek no confrontation with anyone," the release added.

"We shall pursue our business as itinerant vendors and will undertake not to encumber the pavements, the entrance of businesses, and to ensure that the sanitary conditions of our surroundings leave nothing to be desired," the statement said.

Meanwhile, the City Council reported through a press release over the weekend, that Minister Shaik Baksh and Acting Mayor, Robert Williams had decided to allow 80 vendors to be accommodated on Orange Walk, and on Bourda Street between Regent Street and Charlotte Street.

The Council has already passed a resolution seeking the permission of the Minister responsible for Local Government, Clinton Collymore, to serve notice on the owners of certain vacant spots in the City with the objective of the Council acquiring these spots for the location of vendors.

So far, the statement said, the Mayor has had discussion with an owner who is willing to make available 5,000 square feet of land.

Meanwhile, the City Council referred to the Municipal and District Councils Act, Chapter 28:01 which states: "It shall not be lawful for any person to carry on a pavement or foot-path any receptacle containing fish or greasy articles, or any bundle of wood, or article likely to incommode any other person in using a pavement or foot-path, nor shall it be lawful for any person to ride or push any hand-truck, wheelbarrow or other vehicle other than a perambulator containing a child along a pavement or foot-path or throw any dirty water or other fluid, fruit skins, seeds or other refuse on a pavement or foot-path".

It further stated that: "No person shall leave, place, or store, or cause to be left, placed, or stored, any vehicle, cart, dray, barrel, box, dust-bin, tree trunk, branch, limb, or other thing upon any street, parapet, pavement or pavements, with any vehicle, cart, dray, barrel, box, dust-bin or other thing."

The fine for encumbering is $10,000 on the first day and $2,500, for each day the offence continues.

The Mayor and City Council said it remains confident that law-abiding citizens will continue to support its effort to ensure the integrity of the city.

In their release, the Vendors body said it acknowledges the President's good intentions of not depriving them of their opportunity to earn a living, "but in order for that intention to be realised, we urge the City Council to work with us in the short term, that is, during this approaching Christmas to vend in a manner that does not occasion the disturbance of the peace while we work in co-operation to effect long term solutions to our problems".

The Regent Vendors Association urged the public to view the current vendors issue not in a legal context but rather to understand its socio-economic dimensions.

The Association also urged all organisations, groups and individuals to recognise the vendors' plight and lend their support, "so as to enable us to exercise our right to earn honestly, a right that is guaranteed in the Constitution of Guyana", the statement said.

The City Council said since the meeting last Monday with President Bharrat Jagdeo, the Council has already requested Government's intervention and assistance in the preparation of Merriman's Mall, between Orange Walk and Light Street, to facilitate temporary occupation of the vendors.

The Council said that it has utilised its workforce in the clearing the area and together with the Engineers from the Ministry of Works, will examine the work to be done with a view to commencing operations soon.

City Council added that the Vendors Committee was required to submit its list of vendors to enable Council to process applications swiftly.

The Court case comes up for hearing on Wednesday.

Follow the goings-on in Guyana
in Guyana Today