City C’l to move against Water Street vendors

Guyana Chronicle
May 20, 2003

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The Georgetown Mayor and City Council says it intends to carry out court orders, issued some weeks ago, for non-licensed vendors to cease operating along Water Street, and to ensure that licensed operators comply with the time allowed to conduct their businesses.

That time is from 07:00 hrs to 18:00 hrs daily.

So says Town Clerk Beulah Williams.

The City Hall official spoke during a special statutory meeting convened yesterday to deal specifically with the vendors’ issue.

According to the Town Clerk, the vendors have until June 9 to get their act together.

Stakeholders affected by the vending issue who attended the meeting accused the council of failing to act with the authority it has been invested with.

Those established businesses along Water Street seemed not too comfortable with the council not acting immediately on the court removal order.

Proprietor of Universal Book Store on Water Street, Mr. Ovid Holder, whose business has been affected by vendors encumbering the entrance of his premises, said he was disappointed that the Council met yesterday only to “talk around” the matter rather than outline decisive action that would be taken.

He said the Council’s procrastination amounts to contempt of court.

Town Clerk Williams, explained, however, that following the court orders notices were sent out to all vendors along Water Street with specific requirements on the conduct of their business as of June 9, 2003, and the Council would ensure that they complied with the city’s by-laws.

She said that any person(s) (vendors) found in contravention of the by-laws and causes the city engineer to have to remove any article encumbering the parapet and is found to be the result of the vendors’ action, the cost of removal would be recovered by the Town Clerk.

During the time given for the vendors to get their act together, the council and the City Constabulary will also be organizing and mobilizing to ensure that vendors comply with the orders.

However, for those unlicensed vendors who would be required to remove by the deadline set, confrontation seem to be looming.

A representative of the vendors’ body during the meeting said that while the law has to be enforced, President Bharrat Jagdeo had made a promise to resolve the vending problem by providing land for them to be relocated.

Had that been accomplished, it would have brought about a solution for the vendors, he noted. “If that commitment was fulfilled, the ruling of the court would not matter today,” that representative stated.

President Jagdeo had promised that the government would seek to acquire a plot of land belonging to Toolsie Persaud Limited along Water Street and develop it into a vending mall.

However, the owner of the property had posed a legal challenge on the matter, which hampered the process of relocating the vendors.

The representative argued that the Toolsie Persaud property was a “no go” and that the government was obligated to find an alternative.

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