City street vendors open `new mall'

by Stacey Davidson
Guyana Chronicle
October 18, 2000

ABOUT 25 of the vendors evicted by City Hall from Regent Street, yesterday began doing business in a `new mall' under a condemned building at the corner of Wellington and Regent Streets.

A middle-aged seller said that since they were cleared from the street after the City Council won the court battle to remove them, she had not been selling anything and was unable to find adequate meals for herself and children.

Those at the `new spot' are hoping and praying that the old building does not collapse one day.

"We know it dangerous, but we have to do something", she declared.

A few families live in the upper flat of the wooden building.

The City Council tried to evict them earlier this year to dismantle the condemned building but the occupants refused to leave, complaining that they had nowhere to live.

Since then, no other efforts were made to remove the families.

Other vendors said that Regent Street is a good spot for business and they will remain there until suitable arrangements are put in place for them to vend.

They boasted that their prices are very competitive compared to the stores and they are a very convenient source of shopping for many people.

Some vendors are also walking and selling along Regent Street.

City Hall Public Relations Officer, Mr Royston King said the vendors are conducting business under the dilapidated building at their own risk.

He said he was not sure what prevented the demolition crew from dismantling the building earlier this year, but confirmed that it will be pulled down.

Other old buildings around the city which posed a threat to people were torn down by the City Council.

King maintained that the council will stick by its rules agreed to at a meeting last week with President Bharrat Jagdeo, Prime Minister Sam Hinds, Minister of Housing and Water, Mr Shaik Baksh, Minister of Local Government, Mr Clinton Collymore, top City Council officials and some vendors.

The council will not allow any vending on Regent Street, he said.

Some vendors have challenged the order the City Council got from the court to clear them from the street and that is due to be heard in the High Court today.

Store fronts and the pavements along Regent Street have been free of the hordes of sellers, that had for years taken over, since the vendors were cleared three weekends ago.

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