Vendors refuse to move from old Leonora embankment
Guyana Chronicle
May 12, 2002

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VENDORS using the old railway embankment outside the Leonora Cooperative Market on the West Coast Demerara have been asked to remove and occupy stalls within the market, the Government Information Agency (GINA) has reported.

But according to the agency, they have refused to comply with the request by the management of the cooperative.

A few vendors had built stalls on the embankment because they felt it was more lucrative to sell outside the market, but the number has increased to about 600 and this poses a hazard and inconvenience to residents, the agency said.

The residents have complained bitterly about the situation and have said that persons have been robbed in the nights by bandits who use the stalls as hiding places.

Secretary of the Cooperative Market and Headmistress of the Leonora Secondary School, Ms. Bhanmattie Ramphal, told GINA that the vendors were invited on several occasions to move into the market, but have refused to do so.

The market can house 600 vendors but has not been fully utilised over the years.

Ramphal said vendors who are using stalls in the market have complained that their sales have significantly been reduced because of the situation on the embankment.

However, the cooperative is making preparations to extend the market to provide adequate accommodation for the vendors. The market at the moment can house about 75 per cent of the vendors who use the embankment, GINA said.

It said financial problems developed within the cooperative because the vendors on the embankment refused to pay market rents. This situation was further aggravated when the vendors within the market also stopped paying rents because of the action of those who use the embankment, it said.

The cooperative has been in constant contact with the Regional Democratic Council to find solutions to the problems and has been receiving tremendous cooperation from Regional Chairman, Mr. Esau Dookie, GINA said.

Normally, when markets fail within the jurisdiction of the NDC, it is the NDC's responsibility to monitor the functioning of the market. But in the case where a Co-op is established, the NDC has no say, GINA said.

The Leonora Market falls within the Cornelia Ida/Stewartville NDC.

Due to problems within the NDC, Minister within the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development, Mr. Clinton Collymore dissolved the NDC and established an Interim Management Committee (IMC) in January this year. So far the IMC has been carrying out the functions of the NDC in the area.

Chairman Mr. Jainarine Ramnarine told GINA that the IMC has been doing drainage and maintenance works in the area and has submitted plans for a $3M subvention to the RDC.

Ever year Central Government allocates funds to NDCs to finance projects in their areas.

Ramnarine said the IMC has been fulfilling its promise to meet residents, and this is done every Sunday.

In this way, the residents are involved in the decision making process and are able to determine what is needed in their community, he said.