Regent Street court battle adjourned
Vendors renew protest with gusto

By Desiree Jodah
Stabroek News
October 7, 2000

Regent Street vendors who have been debarred from peddling on the busy city street by a court decision yesterday renewed their protest action with gusto after their application in the High Court for a stay of execution was adjourned.

The vendors have been prevented from vending since Saturday following the dismissal of an injunction they had obtained against the Mayor and City Council (M&CC). The injunction had prevented the M&CC from removing the vendors from the Regent Street pavement.

However, Justice Carl Singh dismissed the injunction on Friday giving the M&CC the green light to clear the pavement. Vendors have since filed an application for a stay of execution of the judge's order, pending an appeal against his decision. The matter was called yesterday for the second time before Justice William Ramlall.

According to Mayor Hamilton Green, Justice Ramlall disclosed that the Chief Justice had referred the matter to Justice Singh. Justice Singh was not available yesterday to hear the application, and a date will have to be fixed for the hearing.

After hearing what had transpired in the court, vendors bearing a banner which read, "Peaceful picketing, let justice prevail. Vending is no crime, it's an honest living. See us with your hearts and not your eyes only," marched from the Charlotte Street entrance of the court north into King Street, west into Regent Street, and continued marching up and down in front of City Hall keeping up a steady chant. After walking and chanting over the approximate 100 yards several times, the hot afternoon sun took its toll on some who wandered off to sit in the cool in front of the Acme Photo Studio. However, the majority kept it up for a while longer before camping out in front of City Hall. By 1630 hrs they were gone with a threat that they would be setting up their stalls today in defiance of the M&CC.

And as has been usual since the protest march started, police ranks kept the crowd and traffic under control, while City Constables ensured the pavements were kept clear. Some overzealous members of the City Constabulary removed three pieces of clothing that were hanging over the door of a store much to the annoyance of the store owner. The angry man contended that the items were on his property for which he paid a rent and should not have been removed.

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