No meat-selling on the streets
-Chief Food Inspector declares crackdown By Nigel Williams
Stabroek News
October 14, 2003

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The Mayor and City Council has begun to take tougher action on vendors who sell meat on streets outside the city markets, and has already seized and destroyed 150 plucked chickens from one vendor.

“The days for warning them have passed, now is the time to act,” Chief Meat and Food Inspector Andrew Garnette declared to Stabroek News yesterday.

He added that the council was merely enforcing a regulation which had been in place for years prohibiting the sale of meat outside the markets at unapproved places.

However, up to last night persons were still selling fish and other meats in front of the Stabroek and Bourda Markets.

Garnette said there were already spaces in the markets allocated for the sale of meat. He noted that any selling of meats outside of these places without the approval of the council was illegal and the offenders could be charged and have their goods seized.

The issue of vending on Bourda Street was also raised at the M&CC statutory council meeting yesterday by Mayor Hamilton Green who suggested that the practice might be continuing through the authority of someone at the City Council.

Since February the M&CC had issued warnings to vendors on Bourda Street to leave the area clear because their presence was a traffic hazard. But the vendors had defied this order saying the alternative spot was out of the way.

According to Garnette his department had already instructed the Clerk of Markets to take all necessary steps to regulate the vending of meat in the open. Garnette observed that the practice was widespread during the nights especially at the Bourda Market.

“These vendors who are doing this are aware of the regulations but for some reason or the other they continue to break the law.”

Asked why the meat market was more prosperous in the nights, Garnette said most citizens would usually purchase their meat before they go home. He said the practice had been going on for years now.

He said the regulations stipulated that all frozen meats should be sold in enclosed and approved areas. Moreover he noted that meats like chicken, beef and fish should always be kept in a cold place.

Garnette pointed out that the campaign against this practice was an ongoing one and would intensify because of the many incidents of food poisoning.

Moreover, Garnette mentioned that apart from Bourda Market vendors selling fresh fish and other meats were usually seen during the night in front of Stabroek Market. He said they too would be asked to move. According to Garnette, the practice of selling meats on the roadway was unhealthy and unhygienic.

He pointed out that even if a vendor met all the necessary conditions for conducting their business once there was no approval from the council for the sale of meat on the road that person would be penalised.

He observed that a number of vendors who engaged in this type of activity were using plastic to cover their meats while on display and some would even place their meats on ice.

“But even this we can’t accept. It is either they have an approved place to sell or not at all,” Garnette said.

During a tour of the city yesterday, Stabroek News observed persons selling meat not only around the markets but also along some of the city streets.

Susan Wray, a fish vendor at Stabroek Market, said she could not understand why the council was now taking such a decision when for years it was allowed. She noted that she had been selling fish in front of the market every night for five years and had not been able to secure a stall to do her business. The woman agreed that what the council was trying to do was good but it was now being done to the inconvenience of herself and several others.

Asked why she had not been able to build a stall, Wray said she had one but it was broken down by the council during its dismantling campaign earlier in the year.

Wray argued that she maintained a very clean environment and would normally cover her goods with plastic. She said some days she would even place ice on her goods while selling. “Right now I need a proper stall to do my business. If they can give me a place among those who selling meats in the market that would be good,” Wray declared.

Vendor, Nazir Alli said the council’s decision was counterproductive. Alli sells beef and chicken outside the Bourda Market. According to him, the approved area in the market was already filled with vendors. He insisted that his meat was usually kept very cold and fresh, noting that he had good plastic coverings and would place ice on his meats.

He said he was willing to comply with the regulation, but wondered what would become of his business.

Meat vendors in front of the Stabroek Market have been criticised in the past for blocking that part of the passageway.

Very often citizens using that route to go home during the nights are made to walk through spaces crowded with fish vendors and some persons have had their clothes soiled.

The situation is similar at the Bourda market in the night.