Vendors defy City Hall
Itinerant peddling on Regent Street

Stabroek News
October 15, 2000

Regent Street vendors defied City Hall yesterday and plied their trade on the busy city street, like they said they would in an unsigned press release issued on Friday, despite a warning from the authorities that they would be breaching the law.

The Mayor and City Council (M&CC) had removed the vendors on September 30, following the dismissal of an injunction by Justice Carl Singh on September 29, which prevented the council from moving them.

According to the unsigned press release, headed Regent Street Vendors Association, the sellers had decided to return to Regent Street to ply their trade from yesterday. "We shall pursue our business as itinerant vendors and will undertake not to encumber the pavements, the entrances of businesses and to ensure that the sanitary conditions of our surroundings leave nothing to be desired." The release stated they would do this in accordance with the law.

However, the M&CC issued a release in response to this which quoted Part 1, Section 9 of the City Government By-laws, under the Municipal and District Councils Act Chapter 28:01: "It shall not be lawful for any person to carry on a pavement or foot-path any receptacle containing fish or greasy articles, or any bundle of wood, or other article likely to incommode any other person in using a pavement or foot-path, nor shall it be lawful for any person to ride or lead any animal or ride or wheel a bicycle or drive a vehicle or push any hand-truck, wheel-barrow or other vehicle other than a perambulator containing a child along a pavement or a foot-path or throw any dirty water or other fluid, fruit skins, seeds or other refuse on a pavement or footpath."

And section 10 (1): "No person shall leave, place or store, or cause to be left, placed or stored any vehicle, cart, dray, barrel, box, dust bin, tree trunk, branch, limb, or any other thing upon any street, parapet, pavement or foot-path, or in any other way encumber any street, parapet, or pavement with any vehicle, cart, dray, barrel, box, dust-bin or other thing."

The M&CC said the fine for encumbering was $10,000 on the first day and $2,500 for each day the offence continued.

Despite this warning the vendors were out in their numbers yesterday, mostly between Wellington and Camp streets. They defied two attempts by the City Constabulary to remove them. They kept moving along the pavement stopping for short periods.

The innovative vendors displayed their goods in boxes, carts, in their hands. In one instance, a 'snow-cone' vendor had items of clothing displayed on his cart. In defying the City Constabulary officers, the vendors said that Justice Carl Singh told them that they could walk and sell.

Following the dismissal of their injunction, the vendors had applied for a stay of execution of the judge's order. When the matter was called last week, Justice Singh, in setting October 18, for the hearing, had said the vendors could walk and sell, but not build structures.

Early last week, vendors had agreed, at a meeting facilitated by President Bharrat Jagdeo with officials from City Hall, that there would be no selling on Regent Street. However, they subsequently denied that they had made this pact. Some of them approached City Hall and asked that they be relocated in the Bourda cemetery. How-ever, both Mayor Hamilton Green and Deputy Mayor Robert Williams said this was out of the question.

Williams said there was an injunction against the council preventing it from using the cemetery for any other purpose than that for which it was designated. The injunction had been obtained by the Guyana Heritage Society.

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