Regent St not negotiable
Vendors offered temporary space on Merriman's Mall

By Desiree Jodah
Stabroek News
October 11, 2000

Vendors in a meeting yesterday with President Bharrat Jagdeo and top city officials were told that selling on Regent Street is out of the question but a temporary arrangement is to be worked out for them on Merriman's Mall.

The meeting was held at the request of President Jagdeo who facilitated the talks, after pleas from vendors whose stalls had been dismantled on September 30, following the discharge of an injunction. The injunction had prevented the Mayor and City Council (M&CC) from removing the vendors.

A press release from the M&CC said it was agreed that the sanctity of Regent Street would be preserved, that there would be no vending and the order of the court respected.

Regent Street vendors would be temporarily accommodated on the Merriman's Mall between Orange Walk and Cummings Street. According to the release, wholesalers were now using this area, but with the cooperation of the Ministry of Works, it would be prepared to allow for additional use without compromising the wholesalers' activities.

Georgetown Mayor Hamilton Green told reporters that a letter from the M&CC would be dispatched today to Minister of Works and Transport, Anthony Xavier, seeking his assistance to resurface this section of the mall.

It was agreed that there would be no double occupancy of stalls or space and persons who already owned stalls in and around the municipal markets would restrict their activities to those areas.

The statement said that Minister of Housing and Water, Shaik Baksh, would consider the withdrawal of the injunction which was obtained by the Central Housing and Planning Authority against the M&CC, preventing it from allowing vendors to construct stalls and vend in Orange Walk and Bourda Street up to Charlotte Street. However, a second injunction obtained by some residents of Bourda Street against the M&CC preventing it from placing vendors there would still have to be dealt with.

The M&CC promised to ensure the proper clearance and cleaning of the waterways along Regent Street to bring further relief to residents in contiguous areas.

Both sides pledged to refrain from making defamatory or unjust public statements. According to the statement all sides recognised the complex issues involved and agreed to work for the greater good of the city.

Green said that a list of the names of current vendors was to be presented to the M&CC shortly by the vendors. He said this was to ensure that there would not be an increase in their numbers.

Questioned about what would happen should the Water Street vendors lose their court matter on October 20, Green said the question of acquiring the Guyana Stores Ltd bond had been reopened. He said the council would comply with the ruling of the court.

And Chief Justice Desiree Bernard did not discharge the stay of execution obtained by the Water Street vendors as was reported in the Guyana Chronicle yesterday.

Justice Bernard did not deal with the legal aspect of the matter, but had discussed with lawyers representing both sides the idea which was raised in the court last week about the acquisition of the GSL bond by the vendors. The matter would be dealt with by the Full Court.

Stabroek News understands that when the matter was called last week, the vendors' lawyer had informed the court that they (the vendors) were in discussion on the acquisition of the GSL bond. According to the report, the court had granted a week's leave for the determination of the reported discussion.

And the matter involving the Regent Street vendors' application for a stay of execution of Justice Carl Singh's order to remove them was put down for hearing next Wednesday. When the matter was called yesterday, Justice Singh give the M&CC seven days in which to respond to the motion filed by the vendors. The M&CC had requested 14 days, but the judge granted seven after objections from the vendors' attorney Nigel Hughes.

Meanwhile, Justice Singh, who had dismissed the injunction against the M&CC on September 30, paving the way for the vendors' removal from the pavement, told sellers yesterday that they could walk and sell, but that they could not erect structures on Regent Street.

Vendors kept up their recently acquired secretive air, offering "no comment," to reporters' questions. However, continuous questioning elicited from spokesperson Mansa Amin the information that vendors were pleased that all parties were trying to find a solution.

Also present at the meeting yesterday were Prime Minister Samuel Hinds; Baksh; Minister within the Local Government Ministry, Clinton Collymore; Deputy Mayor, Robert Williams; Town Clerk, Beulah Williams; Clerk of Markets(ag), Errol Brisport; other officials of City Hall and a number of vendors led by Amin.

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