Some vendors storing goods at Stelling View

Guyana Chronicle
June 22, 2003

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ALTHOUGH some vendors have taken up President Bharrat Jagdeo’s proposal to move their stalls temporarily to the Stelling View Site also known as Donkey City in the evenings, the majority of them are still continuing to store their goods on the Toolsie Persaud property located on Water Street.

Following representations by various groups, vendors and the Leader of the Opposition, President Jagdeo met with Mayor Hamilton Green Friday and agreed on using Stelling View as a site to store the goods, temporarily. During the interim arrangement, the vendors are to be responsible for the security of their property.

When the Chronicle visited Donkey City after 18:00 hrs yesterday evening, some vendors were seen moving their stalls and goods to the area that they deem unsafe. There were about 50 stalls in the unfenced area, which, according to vendors has neither electricity nor proper security.

While some were seen heading for that direction, others were continuing to store at the Toolsie Persaud Property since one resident said, “we don’t want to go back to ancient days”.

She claimed that some years ago, they stored their goods at Donkey City, only to return in the morning and find that persons had stolen their goods.

Another reason why some of the vendors are refusing to store their goods at the site is because they said about three years ago, while occupying that same piece of land, their stalls were dismantled by the M&CC.

When the Chronicle spoke with some vendors yesterday they lamented that their businesses are seriously affected since they have to start packing their stalls after 6:00 hrs in the morning and start unpacking at 17:00 hrs to leave before 18:00 hrs deadline stipulated by the Court.

“I don’t see the big deal, if we get the Toolsie Persaud land, there would be no problem …,” said one female vendor.

According to one kitchen utensil vendor the treatment they are receiving is unfair and help is needed immediately since they have to pay about $3,000 per week for the transporting of their goods to and from the market.

“And the thing about it is that if you are not off the road by six (o’clock) they come with loud speakers and order you to get off the government property,” she said.

On Friday, a number of vendors staged a protest for better storage facilities of their goods in the nights, since the Mayor and City Council (M&CC) wrecked their stalls as a result of some vendors failing to comply with notices from the Court of Appeal.

At Friday’s protest, the vendors blocked the Robb and Water Street entrances and a section in front of the National Bank of Industry and Commerce (NBIC) using large pieces of wood, old boxes and other debris.

However, there was a constant presence of police patrolling the area that they were occupying and police ranks were even seen clearing the streets of pieces of wood and other debris.

The vendors on Wednesday last visited the Office of the President to share their concerns with him. However, a meeting was held with Minister within the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development, Clinton Collymore, and Information Liaison to the President, Robert Persaud because of the President’s absence.

It was noted at the meeting that the vendors’ main concern was proper storage of their goods in the nights since it is expensive for them to take their goods home and bring it back the next day.

Yesterday, Information Liaison to the President, Mr. Robert Persaud, told the Government Information Agency (GINA) that the street-blocking exercise by the vendors Friday was “disappointing” since they had given him the assurance at the Wednesday meeting that they would not engage in any lawless activities.

“Vendors, like any other group of Guyanese, must comply with the laws of the country and city by-laws, since it is essential to maintain law and order within any society,” Persaud said.

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