No new vendors -city to bar new street traders, eject delinquents

Stabroek News
January 14, 2016

Town Clerk Royston King yesterday announced that the city council would no longer allow new vendors to trade on Georgetown's pavements and vendors who do not adhere to regulations would be permanently banned from selling on the city's streets.

"No new vendors are allowed on the pave... you tell us and we will remove them immediately," King declared to hundreds of vendors at City Hall who cheered his announcement during a meeting yesterday. According to the town clerk, the decision was taken by the city council as part of the "Green City" campaign and after considering the congested state of Georgetown.

He said they have registered all the persons who are trading on the city pavements and will remove any new person observed vending.

King told the vendors that they are moving to restore Georgetown to its former glory of being the Garden City.

He explained that they would be looking at reviving one street and one community at time until the city is neat, clean and green. He also related that the city would embark on monthly clean-ups on either the first or last Sunday of the month.

"You will not come out to sell but come out to clean as a part of your personal responsibility to the city," he said. According to the town clerk, the city council is aware that while some people are making attempts to keep the environment clean, others are "dirtying the place and they are going home with all of their profits and leaving their mess behind. We are not prepared to accept that...if you demonstrate any piles of filth we will remove you."

The official urged the vendors to do business in a clean, tidy and environmentally friendly manner. "Inspectors will be visiting the areas in which you are operating to ensure that you are keeping the place tidy and [once] you are not up to standards [you] will be removed immediately and would not be allowed to go back and do business," he declared.

Further, the town clerk told the vendors that the way in which they conduct business should be a reflection of who they are. "Some of you come to vend with old clothes and your hair looking as if it was in a rainstorm and you are selling on some old stands...that can't work," he said to loud applause from the scores of vendors who signalled their agreement.

King urged the vendors to raise their standards as many visitors are expected to be in Guyana for the 50th Anniversary celebration and would stop and shop at the markets. "You must have receptacles for garbage, where you are operating must be clean and tidy," he said.

He also declared that the municipality would be collecting a $1000 environmental tax this year.

"City council is committed to returning the city of Georgetown to its former glory...these projects are unearthing the beauty of the city.

We will restore Georgetown one street, one community at a time until Georgetown is restored to its former glory," King asserted.

Many vendors braved the scorching sun and stood in City Hall's compound for the meeting, sheltering under umbrellas.

Deputy Mayor Patricia Chase-Green told the vendors that they are drawing the line on the minority who do not comply with the regulations that are being enforced. "Some people feel it is their God-given right to stay where they are vending and not move...There is a minority among us who continue to do the wrong. That will not be tolerated, we are drawing the line," she asserted.

According to the official, there are persons who think they have a right to live where they vend. "When you finish vending go home, what you leave behind is all your waste, the $1000 environmental tax cannot cover the steady cleanup," she said.

Chase-Green also pointed out that some people will be at a disadvantage now because they are the "inconvenience that we would have to get rid of before we get on the straight and narrow road with the intent of reaching our goals and regulating Georgetown." She explained to the vendors that in accordance with the law, they were not supposed to be selling at the road corners.

She said vendors were allowed to get away with selling on the roadsides in the last decade and vending has grown tremendously from 1966. Chase-Green further declared that the city council is moving to have the vending situation regulated and whatever they are doing is in keeping with the law.

Also addressing the gathering was Mayor Hamilton Green. He said he is aware of the difficulty in adapting to change but this must be understood, if a better Georgetown is to be seen.

He also spoke on the importance of the upcoming Local Government Elections and urged the vendors to get involved.

After the meeting, garbage bags were handed out to those in attendance.

Several vendors who spoke with Stabroek News after the meeting said they were satisfied. When questioned on whether all their issues were addressed, the vendors said no but added that it was expected that not all the matters would be addressed.

Vendors who had special issues were invited to another meeting with King after the first one.