City taking tougher line with vendors
‘Bourda Street sellers must move’

Stabroek News
June 14, 2003

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Bourda Street vendors will have to move from their current location when the Mayor and City Council (M&CC) is ready to take action and other areas of the city are to be targeted, says Public Relations Officer Royston King.

He told Stabroek News on Thursday that notices had already been served and even though vendors were not given a deadline they should have removed already. He warned that the council had been too lenient to street vendors over the years, but now was the time to act decisively against indisciplined street vending.

The council is to move in on vendors along Longden, Commerce and America Streets as well as areas around the East Coast, South Georgetown and Kitty/Campbellville bus parks.

In response to the Bourda vendors’ complaints that the area identified by the council for them to relocate was unhealthy, King told this newspaper that the M&CC was a caring and considerate agency and would not relocate the vendors to such a place.

The vendors had told this newspaper that the new area on Bourda Green was next to sewage disposal outlets and was out of the way. King said if the council felt that the area was in need of cleaning it would do just that and any other works necessary. He agreed that it was always a problem for someone to leave a location after being there for years but that the vendors would have to adapt, adding that they had no other choice.

He also noted that the vendors’ presence on Bourda Street had been impeding drainage works which should have already been done on a canal behind their stalls. King also said the Council had one of its outposts next door to the street and for security reasons that area would have to be kept clear.

On the issue of the Water Street vendors, King said so far most of the vendors had been complying. He pointed out that there was still a small group disobeying the court order, but the council was ready to take action against them.

Meanwhile a number of collapsible stalls, drink carts and boxes of goods left on the streets during the city council’s dismantling exercise, were seized by the M&CC. These goods, according to King, will be returned to the vendors, but only after they pay a fine and give an undertaking that they will comply with the Appeal Court order. King said the council was not going to deprive the vendors of their livelihood and as such their stalls and goods would be returned. Some of the things which were seized are from itinerant vendors who use small carts to move around the city.

Stabroek News had observed over the past three days most of the vendors were leaving their goods concealed in boxes on the street. This, according to the vendors, was due to the lack of storage facilities during the night. One vendor told this newspaper that at the end of the day he would pack up his goods in a large box covered with plastic and then place it at the corner of the street. He said he usually paid someone to keep an eye on it during the night. Other vendors would do the same, but the M&CC says some of them are leaving their boxes in the middle of the street blocking traffic.

Yesterday scores of vendors crowded the M&CC compound in a bid to pick up their belongings. Some of them succeeded in collecting their goods while others were told to return later.

King acknowledged that there were still a number of other streets being blocked by vendors and said that very soon all the city streets would be cleared of structures. He said the nightly dismantling exercise would be expanded next week.

On Thursday evening, city constables returned to the streets but most of the vendors had already dismantled their structures.

A few, selling on small trays, were still doing business but they also quickly packed up their stocks. The area in front of Stabroek Market, which the council had cleared on Monday evening, remained very clean and at 6 pm all stalls were down. (Nigel Williams)

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