Vendors to occupy Mon Repos market today

Stabroek News
December 11, 2000

Vendors selling on the outskirts of the Mon Repos Market will be taking up their stalls in the market today almost two years after the market was commissioned.

Stabroek News visited the market yesterday and while some vendors were selling for the last day on the street others were busy adding finishing touches to their stalls. Every section of the market is now occupied with stalls.

The vendors were expected to move into the market on December 2 but because some stalls had not been completed the deadline was extended. According to a notice served on the vendors and signed by Minister within the Ministry of Local Government, Clinton Collymore. the vendors are to be removed from the street and have to take up stalls in the market by December 11, which is today.

Some of the vendors would have preferred to move into the market next month, because this is the Christmas season, but as one vendor said, "we have no choice; it is in black and white that we must move into the market."

The vendor said that a meeting had been held on Tuesday and it had been hoped that at the meeting they would have voted to stay on the street, but their hope was dashed when the notice was served on them requiring them to remove from off the street.

Some of the vendors had complained to the Stabroek News that they had not been given the right spot in the market. They had related that when the places were allocated they had not been informed, and as a result they had been given stalls at the back of the market. The vendors had further 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.

Others had complained about the period in which they were required to move. They had pointed out 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".

The market was commissioned on April 11, 1999. At first the vendors had refused to occupy it, saying that the rental 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 had been 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 western portion 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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