City Council may start new negotiations By Abigail Kippins
Guyana Chronicle
November 28, 2001

THE Mayor and City Council may soon start new negotiations for the removal of the Water Street pavement vendors if the controversy surrounding the proposed acquisition of the Toolsie Persaud Limited (TPL) property for their relocation prevails.

Mayor of Georgetown, Mr. Hamilton Green yesterday told the Chronicle that if by the end of December the matter between the Government and TPL for the vendors relocation is not resolved, the council will have to start making other decisions.

TPL is challenging the Government's move to acquire the land for public purposes through a constitutional motion in the Supreme Court.

The Government had made it clear that the Water Street vendors will be relocated to the site in Water Street which was to be developed into a Vendors Arcade.

The acquisition of the land had come up during a specially-convened meeting with President Bharrat Jagdeo and the vendors on June 19 at City Hall in a bid to find a solution to the old street vending problem which had at times led to serious clashes between the City Constabulary and the sellers.

The vendors had been engaged in a long court battle with the council and were ordered by the High Court to remove from the pavements by June 13 this year.

They were, however, granted an extension and it was after this that they met the President.

Green said the council had agreed to put the vendors' removal on hold when Mr. Jagdeo had intervened.

However, several complaints have been made to the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry by large companies who said their businesses are severely affected by pavement vendors.

Fogarty's, Courts, Guyana Stores and Muneshwers Ltd. have all expressed alarm over the situation and JP Santos was forced to close its business because of the problems they faced with vendors.

"These established businesses provide significant revenue to the Government as well as to the municipality. Besides, collectively, they provide employment for hundreds of workers", the chamber said in a press release last week.

It would be a shame if the Mayor and City Council (M&CC) fails to enforce the law vis--vis itinerant vendors and the situation remains unchecked, it said.

According to the chamber, Guyana cannot afford to have more businesses closing and it said it had organised several studies in the past to come up with solutions to the vending problem.

Detailed reports have been forwarded to the M&CC, it said but the problem persists.

"An urgent solution is needed. The law must be enforced. The chamber remains committed to working with the M&CC towards a resolution of the vendor problem", the release stated.

Green said that in the meantime, the council is monitoring vending on the pavement. He said officials patrol the areas and charge vendors who litter.

Vendors were also ordered not to put up high structures and warned not to block entrances, he said.