All councillors must declare support for Regent St clearing

City Council Round Up
With Cecil Griffith
Stabroek News
October 2, 2000

It was a sight for sore eyes when I ventured onto Regent Street last Saturday around mid-morning.

Never in my wildest dreams did I believe that in one fell swoop the pavements on Regent Street could have been cleared and made passable for shoppers, who were able to walk three and four abreast in safety and without being harassed by the wayside vendors.

The city council's action which followed the dismissal of a court injunction brought earlier this year against the municipality was carried out with military precision, as the vendors complained about not being informed of their removal by City Hall.

This complaint is misdirected. The vendors having decided to play hardball with the council by resorting to the courts over what some of them have been contending is their rights 'to earn a living' should have been in touch with their lawyers, who would have been duty bound to inform them about the court's decision.

This time around City Hall is blameless, although during and after the picketing exercise on Saturday outside City Hall on Regent Street, some of the more vocal vendors threatened to 'burn down the town' if they are not allowed to resume selling on the pavements.

This is crunch time for the 'city fathers' and 'mothers' because their constituents are bound to appeal to them to do something and do it now.

The occupancy of the city's pavements has been denounced by all the councillors who sit around the horseshoe table at City Hall and all of them have blamed the courts for in some cases not dealing expeditiously with the many injunctions against the municipality.

The thirty councillors must publicly declare their support for the Town Clerk's swift action early last Saturday morning on Regent Street and be resolute in putting systems in place to ensure that the mayhem does not return. The City Constabulary will have to be ever alert and constantly monitor the situation on a daily basis despite the 'cussing out' which they would continue to receive, from the vendors and those who support their cause.

Storeowners role
With the removal of the vendors, there is now a golden opportunity for Mayor Hamilton Green, his deputy Robert Williams and the Town Clerk to invite all the businessmen and women who own and operate stores on Regent Street and to meet with them to discuss follow up action.

It's an accepted fact that some storeowners especially those who deal in clothing encourage vending outside their premises, since the clothing and footwear on display are from the same business granting the facility. This is something which needs radical surgery.

Those businesses on Regent Street that with scant regard extend their activities onto the pavements and even onto the street must be told in no uncertain terms that "things have changed".

The City Constabulary will also have to pay attention to the increasing numbers of itinerant food and cake sellers who suddenly appear especially on Saturday mornings outside some city stores and supermarkets. Do they possess food handlers certificates? I await the Medical Officer of Health's reply.

Also worrying are the many unauthorised points in the main shopping areas of this city, where malta and beers are being sold from 'cool down' carts.

The Camp Street Avenue
People's Progressive Party/Civic councillor Rocky Mann who never fails to mention in all of his presentations before the council, that he deals with issues and not personalities wants the council to take strong action against those who contribute to the littering of the Camp Street Avenue.

The PPP/Civic councillor accused a certain night spot owner of failing to provide adequate facilities for the storage of garbage at his business. As a result, argues the councillor, several food boxes, plastic cups and plates are left strewn on the avenue's parapet especially after the weekend. The maintenance of the avenue, a commitment of the city council, was also called into question by councillor Mann.

People's National Congress councillor Ranwell Jordan asked if this was so, what action has been taken against those responsible. He received no reply from the officer corps.

A tired looking 'chief citizen' interjected "and so anarchy pervades the entire society... we are operating in an environment of lawlessness."

A computer literate Mayor
Mayor Green informed the last statutory meeting of the city council, that he had just completed a one-week computer course, and announced "I am now computer literate" He even referred to a spreadsheet.

This was obviously a hint to other councillors to be prepared for the information super highway. The city 'fathers' and 'mothers' showed that they were not yet ready for computer lessons, when a heated debate ensued taking up several minutes, over the correct name of a magistrate who had dealt with a matter concerning the council.

The name which caused the exchange and was not resolved was Dawn.

Mayor Green could not help "I do not frequent the courts.... so I do not know." At the meeting councillors devoted some time enquiring whether the meat from the goat and the sheep is described as mutton. Some said it was venison.... the 'chief citizen' although being advised by the acting Meat and Food Inspector that mutton covered both sheep and goat meats summoned his political assistant to fetch a dictionary so he could be convinced.

Follow the goings-on in Guyana
in Guyana Today