Water St vendors stay extended
Appeal to open Dec 8

Stabroek News
November 24, 2000

The Water Street vendors won another court round yesterday when Chief Justice Desiree Bernard decided to extend the respite granted to them from the court order requiring them to remove their stalls after 6:00 pm, until the hearing and determination of their appeal.

Justice Bernard made the decision in the Full Court she shared with Justice Oswell Legall after hearing legal arguments from lawyer for the vendors, Nigel Hughes, and Senior Counsel Keith Massiah representing the Mayor and City Council.

Hughes presented arguments in support of the motion brought by one of the vendors, requesting that Chief Justice Bernard grant a 38-day respite from the order for them to find places to store their stalls. He argued that it was only last weekend that the vendors were allowed a meeting with the mayor and at that meeting they were told the council had nowhere for them to store their stalls.

The deadline for the court order, made on October 20, to come into effect was Monday night. However, the vendors were given a stay following a request by their lawyer.

According to Hughes, his clients had no difficulty complying with the order but had nowhere to store their collapsible stalls. He contended that some of the vendors had already built their collapsible stalls.

In response, Massiah said the vendors should pay regard to the solemn document, which was the licence they were given, which stipulated that they should remove their stalls at the end of the day.

He noted that in the application by the vendor she stated that some of the vendors had installed electrical meters and pointed out that this showed that the vendors had no intention of moving. He questioned why the vendors built permanent structures when they knew they would have to move one day.

Chief Justice Bernard answered the question for him, pointing out that the council allowed the vendors to build the stalls without intervening. She noted that the pavements are not made for anyone to encumber and pointed out that some of the vendors were of the opinion that they had a right to sell on the pavement. However, she said that the vendors might have come to that conclusion when they were granted licences to sell.

After the lengthy arguments, Justice Bernard suggested that she would hear the appeal and dispose of the matter once and for all.

This did not go down too well with Massiah, as he pointed out that appeals in the High Court were usually lengthy matters.

But the chief justice gave the undertaking that the matter would be disposed of speedily without any delay. She proposed that the appeal would be heard by the end of this year. Arguments would begin in the afternoon of December 8. (Samantha Alleyne)

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