City vendors stay put under condemned building

Guyana Chronicle
October 19, 2000

CITY Constables swooped down on some vendors who attempted to resume business on the pavement between Regent and Wellington Streets yesterday.

City Hall Public Relations Officer, Mr Royston King said the action by the vendors was prompted by a postponement of the hearing of their court challenge to their removal from Regent Street to October 25.

Hearing about the postponement of the case, he said a number of vendors suddenly commenced business on the pavement.

The constables, according to King, arrived on the scene at about 13:00 hours to remove those who were selling on the pavement, and not those who occupied places under the dilapidated building at the corner of Wellington and Regent Streets.

Up to late yesterday afternoon, only the vendors under the old building were visible and there was no pavement vending.

The City Council expressed alarm that some vendors have moved under the ruinous building and declared that they are plying their trade at their own risk.

"The City Council wishes to make it clear that those who occupy and those who attempt to purchase, under the building in question, are doing so at their own risk", King said in a press statement.

He said the City Engineer's Department had condemned the building and deemed it "unsafe and dangerous for habitation."

He said the necessary statutory notices were dispatched to the owner to demolish the "offending structure".

The City Council said some 86 vendors are expected to occupy stalls, on Orange Walk, and Bourda Street, between Regent and Charlotte Streets, by Monday.

Some of the vendors began selling under the dilapidated building Tuesday.

King, in a telephone interview with the 'Chronicle' expressed dissatisfaction at the action of the vendors, saying it breached the agreement arrived at during the meeting to resolve the issue, facilitated by President Bharrat Jagdeo last week.

At the meeting were Prime Minister Sam Hinds, Minister of Water and Housing, Mr Shaik Baksh; Minister in the Local Government Ministry, Mr Clinton Collymore; top City Council officials and representatives of the vendors.

"We are very concerned, notwithstanding, the meeting with the President, the agreement was once again reneged", King declared.

He added that the City Council is firm about its decision not to permit vending on Regent Street, reiterating the council's decision to maintain the sanctity of Regent Street.

King pointed out that the vendors cannot cause obstruction on the pavement to citizens.

Some vendors yesterday said they are determined not to relocate to any other site because they claim Regent Street is the only area they can conduct their business profitably.

"We are placed in a situation where we have no alternative...we have to sell", one said yesterday.

"We dare City Hall to challenge us", Mr Mansa Amin, spokesperson for the vendors remarked.

Justice of Appeal Mr Carl Singh yesterday fixed the hearing for arguments relating to the Regent Street vendors application for a stay of execution to Wednesday.

The hearing in relation to the settlement of affidavits was fixed for yesterday and when the matter was called, Mr Vidyanand Persaud associated with Miss Prabba Persaud for the Council presented the Council's affidavit in answer to the vendors' affidavit.

Mr Nigel Hughes for the vendors did not think it necessary for him to file an affidavit in reply.

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