Vendors stay off city street
- police to back up City Constabulary

Guyana Chronicle
October 26, 2000

CALM prevailed on Regent Street, Georgetown yesterday following the bloody clashes Tuesday between vendors and the City Constabulary which left a stabbed constable critical in hospital and several others wounded.

Stores which had hurriedly closed after violence erupted over vendors defying a City Hall ban against selling on the pavements of Regent Street were open for business yesterday and the street sellers were not at spots they had occupied since last week.

The wounded city constabulary members were recovering yesterday and more than a dozen vendors arrested during the confrontation appeared before a city magistrate charged with assault and other offences.

In the wake of the street violence, the Police Force yesterday announced it would be immediately backing the City Constabulary to restore law and order.

Deputy Mayor, Mr Robert Williams, Town Clerk, Ms Beulah Williams and acting Chief Constable, Mr Jagdeo Singh met Police Commissioner Laurie Lewis and several of his top officers "to discuss the deteriorating situation with vendors", police said.

The Police Force "expressed deep sympathy to the City Council representatives over the serious injuries suffered by members of the City Constabulary", a statement said.

"The primary reason for the meeting was to lend support to the City Council and City Constabulary in the restoration of law and order", police said.

They said both sides felt that "in keeping with the approved norms of peaceful behaviour and the resolution of conflict, a peaceful solution to the current impasse should be found."

"All parties are asked to ensure that violence does not escalate", police said.

The vendors who have refused to take up alternative spots since the City Council got a court order blocking them from selling on the Regent Street pavements, had another setback when the judge yesterday declined to grant them a temporary halting of the no-selling order.

The condemned building at the corner of Regent and Wellington Streets where they last week took up quarters, was deserted yesterday, the pavement clear of the wooden pallets they had put across the sidewalk drain to display goods for sale.

The vendors last week moved under the old building but the owner fenced the compound Sunday and they took to the pavement outside the yard from Monday.

Groups of vendors turned up outside the Georgetown Magistrates Court for the appearance of those charged but no further incidents were reported.

Some carried placards denouncing Mayor Hamilton Green and Williams.

Medical personnel at the Georgetown Hospital yesterday said City Constable Solomon Taylor who was stabbed during Tuesday's confrontation was out of danger.

Taylor, of West Ruimveldt Housing Scheme, Georgetown told the Chronicle he was feeling "okay".

He is nursing a stab wound in the lower region of his abdomen and other minor wounds.

He, Constable Clive Johnson and Jane Boston and Sergeant Vibert Carr were beaten about their bodies with pieces of wood and pelted with stones by a group of angry vendors while on duty along Regent Street.

Taylor was stabbed in the abdomen with a sharp object and underwent emergency surgery Tuesday afternoon.

His co-workers were treated for cuts to the head and hands and sent home.

During the clashes, 13 vendors and Archie Poole, a member of the African Cultural Development Association (ACDA) were arrested by City Constables.

They appeared before Principal Magistrate Juliet Holder-Allen yesterday charged with various offences including throwing stones, obstructing peace officers, carrying offensive weapons and assault.

Four of them were refused bail and remanded to jail, while the others, including Poole, were placed on bail ranging from $5,000 to $15,000.

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