'End of street protests' decision must be applauded
Guyana Chronicle
February 23, 2004

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IS it true? That the PNC/R and its leader Robert Corbin have had a rethought at their recent General Council, the highest body between Congresses, and no longer wish to resort to street protests as a form of action owing to the unfortunate results that follow?

If this is so, then most people, including their own members and supporters, will applaud this decision, as the entire community suffers in one way or another from such street protests.

As a vendor selling on Regent Street, I have been a victim of two such protests. After my husband died in a car accident, I left my office job for a "hustle" because, at that time, I needed spending money more regularly than once a month to maintain my three children and myself.

I was saddened by the situation that was developing between the City Council and the vendors. But I knew that the Mayor was concerned about how street vending was affecting the business people who were complaining, and the nasty condition in which many undisciplined vendors left the pavements at the end of the day.

I must say that the Mayor was kind enough to allow some of us who were more disciplined to continue operating on the pavements. I was happy because I knew I would still be in a position to attract sales.

Then came the street protests. Sometimes we would get enough time to close up and hide our things before the protesters came through. At first I thought that the problem was just between the government and the opposition, so I never bothered to close up. But then the protesters started taking away goods from the stalls of everybody, not just the East Indians.

They had no mercy, and if we talked for our rights, they would take more of our goods and also knock down our stalls. A vendor who was Black like me and sold next to my stall was slapped by one of the men, when she said they were taking advantage of poor people like themselves.

After all this bitter experience, I vowed not to vote for the PNC again, or for any other party, until the two main parties get their acts together.

When I was told that the PNC Congress came to the decision not to hold street protests again, I was a bit skeptical, since I did not hear it myself.

But if it is true, that is a good thing. I wish I had heard it myself, but I think it was the right decision. It is not fun for a poor person to have to replace capital without making a profit, so I hope people will begin cooperating with each other to get our country moving again.

I always tell my children to be kind to everybody, no matter of what race, because I received assistance from people of different races when I had to cope with the sudden death of my husband in a car accident. My children and all other children will grow up to be better Guyanese if they can live in an environment where peace and harmony are our nation's watchwords.
Yours faithfully,
Esme Sampson