Water street vendors divided on compliance with court ruling
May 25, 2003
Some vendors on Water Street say they are prepared to comply with the street vending ruling due to take effect next month, but others say they would not tow the line since President Jagdeo has to yet fulfil his promise to them.
The President had expressed the intention of acquiring the Toolsie Persaud Limited plot of land on Water Street to acco<<Selection in Document>>mmodate the vendors but that matter is before the court.
The Appeal Court in a recent ruling stated that from June 9 vendors on Water Street can only do business between the hours 7:00am-6:00pm and at the end of each day they would have to remove their stalls or structures from the pavement.
One vendor on Thursday in questioning the wisdom of such a ruling, asked: “How can someone possibly take down these huge stalls every day and put them up back the next morning? This is total nonsense.”
At a meeting on Monday with stakeholders, Mayor Hamilton Green told city councillors that the regulating of street vending was long overdue and now was the time to act. Since the ruling was handed down, Town Clerk Beulah Williams has sent out notices to the vendors informing them about the council’s intention.
However, it is not clear what measures the M&CC would take to enforce the order, although Stabroek News was told that workers in the City Engineer’s Depart-ment have been briefed already and are going to take whatever action they deem necessary.
Speaking to this newspaper on Thursday, a woman who claimed to have been doing business on the street for five years chided the M&CC, saying that it was the Mayor who had told them to build sheds over their heads and he was now complaining about the structures.
According to the kitchen utensil vendor, “I have nowhere to go, but I am prepared to tow the line. What am I going to do, I have no other alternative than that of complying with the order.”
She noted that it would be very hard on her to break down her stall every day and erect it again in the morning, adding that her stall is very big and delicately put together.
“We need people with more understanding in this country; if the President tell us don’t move and the Mayor is saying we have to move then who is more big in this country?” she asked.
Another vendor who has a stall in front of Universal Bookstore says she is aware of the congestion on the street.
“I know the street is very crowded, but where are we going to go; everybody wants to make a living just like he in the bookstore - I gat to eat too.”
Vendors have virtually taken over the street with their stalls and trays and some of them have put up structures in front of business premises such as Fogarty’s, National Bank of Industry and Commerce and Brassonic.
“We are not stealing,” a female vendor selling in front of Guyana Stores Limited declared.
The woman told this newspaper that she has a lot of bills to pay and she cannot afford to be out of a job. She says it would be very difficult to manage the rigorous schedule of having to remove her things every day.
Some vendors who have been living in their stalls on Water Street say they have nowhere to place the structures and the goods if they have to move daily.
Among other things, the Mayor had complained about the insanitary condition the street is left in after each day’s business.