Mon Repos vendors to occupy market Dec 2

By Samantha Alleyne
Stabroek News
November 9, 2000

Almost two years after it was commissioned, the Mon Repos Market is expected to be occupied on December 2 by the vendors selling on its outskirts, if all goes well.

Yesterday one of the vendors, Sandra Freeman, told Stabroek News that it had been decided that they would occupy the market on that date. She said that most vendors were satisfied and had agreed to move into the market.

However, some other vendors were not of the same view, and complained that they had not been awarded the right spot in the market. They said that when the spots were allocated they were not informed and as a result they had been given stalls at the back of the market. The vendors said that it was unfair for them to be relegated to spots where their customers would have difficulty locating them after selling in the street for years.

Other vendors complained about the period in which they were required to move. They said that it would be better for them to move after the Christmas season as that was the only season when they made money. They felt that should they move into the market, other persons would occupy their present spots. The vendors also said that they did not now have the necessary funds to build their stalls, but would be able to do so in January, once they "catch our Christmas hand".

Some of the vendors seized the opportunity to make their grievances known to Prime Minister Sam Hinds who was on a visit to the area. While not committing himself, Hinds promised to raise the topic with the minister of local government.

Yesterday Stabroek News noticed that some vendors had already built their stalls and the eastern section of the market had been paved so as to accommodate more vendors.

The issue with the vendors occupying the market rankled since it was commissioned on April 11, 1999. At first the vendors had refused to occupy the market, stating that the rental fee was too high. When this issue was worked out they had complained about the allocation of stalls claiming that there was favouritism in the system. They had vowed not to occupy the market until the issues were cleared up.

The $25 million market was commissioned by then president Janet Jagan. Half of the $25 million was obtained from central government for the building of the western side of the two-building structure, while the Social Impact Amelioration Programme (SIMAP) provided $9.8 million for the eastern building. The Mon Repos/La Reconnaissance NDC contributed some $400,000. The structure was expected to accommodate 450 stallholders. The building funded by central government took 20 months to complete, while SIMAP's section was finished in four months.

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