Vendors return to Regent Street

By Samantha Alleyne
Guyana Chronicle
December 23, 2000

The Mayor and City Council won the court battle against the Regent Street vendors, which resulted in them being ousted from the street, but the vendors scored a victory of sorts over members of the City Constabulary this week.

The enterprising vendors have found ways to "catch their Christmas hand" on the same street a High Court judge ordered that they be removed from. The vendors were removed from the street in September, and at first it appeared that the constabulary was in control as the pavement remained clear.

However, at that time, the vendors were hoping that Justice Carl Singh would have stayed the order and allow them to sell on the street for the festive season. But that was not to be and the vendors have since indicated that they have no intention of going to the Merriman Mall which the council spent $9 million to prepare. A walk down Regent Street will find it no different from last year's Christmas; vendors are stopping pedestrians every few seconds, urging them to buy their wares sold. When they were first removed from the street, the vendors had started to use the yard of the dilapidated building at the corner of Regent and Wellington streets to display their wares. This move was thwarted for some time by the city constables and the owner of the building. While the constables ousted them from underneath the building the owner fenced the compound, in an effort to keep the vendors out.

But in fact what the owner of the building did was assist the persistent vendors as they used the fence to display their wares to the public. Shoppers can now be seen purchasing items through the chain-link fence. The yard is now a very colourful site and the shopper can buy the figurative pin to an elephant at the illegal mini mart. Because of this that section of the pavement is always crowded.

However, that is not the only illegal mini mart, all along Regent Street store owners have been accommodating vendors in small cracks between buildings, stairways and behind gates. But as one woman commented the store owners will actually help the vendors as they (the vendors) are the ones who purchase most of their stuff wholesale.

And the vendors are not the only ones congesting the pavement, the store owners are also doing the same. Some of them could be seen blatantly displaying their goods outside-some large enough to block anyone from passing-while others hang their articles in front of the store. Some vendors have erected stalls on the pavement on Camp Street just off Regent Street while others have done the same thing on Wellington Street. Other vendors are now selling from cars and buses parked on Regent Street. When the constables are around they close these vehicles and pretend to be shoppers.

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