$5.7M mall contract for Parika vendors signed
Stabroek News
July 26, 2003

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The traditional Sunday market along the road at Parika will soon be a thing of the past with the construction of a $5.7M mall to house 600 vendors.

The government has allocated funds to the Social Impact Amelioration Programme (SIMAP) for the construction of the area, to be carried out by Courtney Benn Contracting Services.The mall will be located in Hydronie, East Bank Essequibo, a short distance from where the vendors currently do business.

The contract was signed yesterday at the SIMAP office and includes clearing of the area, grading and filling of the site, the construction of an access road and asphalt/concrete tarmac, digging of drains and culverts and the installation of security fencing, guard huts, sanitary facilities and an administrative office. The mall will be constructed on an eight-acre plot of land and would accommodate parking.

Executive Director of SIMAP, Nandram Persaud said that as part of their job, they would have to choose a supervisor who would look into the contractor’s operations, so as to ensure that work is being done according to the contractual arrangements.

Milton Dookie, Chairman of the Hydronie/Good Hope Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC), said that vending at Parika was in a disgraceful state. The NDC chairman said most of the vendors were disorganised and were litterbugs who normally left the place in a mess. Sunday is the big market day at Parika and according to Dookie over 600 vendors from Georgetown, Bonasika, Wakenaam and other Essequibo islands sold goods along the roadside. He said the pavements were too crowded and it would take a car thirty minutes to reach the stelling.

He added that the vendors were a major traffic hazard and had been putting a tremendous strain on traffic ranks and the NDC.

A management committee would be set up to regularise the relocation of the vendors and priority would be given to vendors who had been selling in the area for a number of years, regardless of where they came from. He said consideration would also be given to residents of the area. However, Dookie was confident that all 600 hundred vendors could be allocated stalls and even a few stands would be left empty. He made it clear that the facility was not a grocery shop but a mall and persons would not be allowed to store goods there overnight. He said that the administration would look closely at providing permanent structures for the vendors at a later date.

Dookie said he was cognisant of the confusion in Georgetown due to street vending and the NDC would do all in its power to minimise such activities.

“That’s why we are building this mall.

Over the years we realised how disorganised and chaotic was the situation on Sundays, but now we are going to regulate that.”

Dookie warned that all street vending around the current vending area would be brought to an end as soon as the mall was completed. He said stiff penalties would be imposed on those who disobeyed, adding that notices have been served to vendors on the issue and meetings had been held. Dookie told this newspaper that follow up meetings would be held with the vendors to reinforce the NDC’s position on the matter, noting that there would be no letting up.

He conceded there had been mixed reactions with some vendors saying their current spots had been very lucrative.

But he noted the mall was not being constructed away from the hub of business activity. (Nigel Williams)

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