Stabroek Market Square clearing under way By Shawnel Cudjoe
Guyana Chronicle
February 20, 2007

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THE Mayor and City Council (M&CC) has given vendors occupying the area in front of the Stabroek Market and the Croal Street pavement until tomorrow to permanently remove.

The ultimatum immediately triggered an outcry with some of those affected claiming they were not told of the decision and others stating the notice is too short.

But, Town Clerk, Ms. Beulah Williams, who made the announcement to the media at City Hall yesterday, said the action was decided because Stabroek Market is a heritage site and the situation with the stalls is “not pleasing to the eye.”

“We just can’t continue with vending there,” she declared, adding that the selling at that location causes serious congestion.

Assistant City Engineer, Mr. Lloyd Alleyne pointed out that, while responding to a fire, last week, a tender took more than seven minutes to get through the crowded thoroughfare.

He said mini-buses plying route 42 (Georgetown/Timehri) also block the place where there is a lack of order and discipline.

Williams said that, until now, sellers were allowed from 06:00h to 18:00h but they usually leave the place untidy and, when asked why the moving order only now, she responded: “Better late than never.”

Williams said the availability of resources and the tidying up of surrounding areas for Cricket World Cup (CWC) were some of the contributing factors.

She said the municipality does not have the responsibility of relocating those who would be displaced and Alleyne revealed that most of them have stalls inside the market.

He maintained that they were previously told of the impending movement prior to being served the seven-day notices.

About 65 notifications were handed to persons in front of the Stabroek Market, on Croal Street next to St Andrew’s Primary School and on Brickdam.

Alleyne said the school authorities had complained that the vendors were selling illegal items to the pupils.

Meanwhile, angry vendors vowed not to move, saying they need to make a living and many of them alleged they were deceived into thinking they could operate there during CWC matches after being told by City Hall officials to spruce up their stalls for the occasion.

Clothes vendor Pamela Anderson said she has been plying her trade there for the past 20 years and, about two months ago, municipal officials visited and encouraged her and others to build specifically four feet by six feet dimensions, by December 15, 2006, to continue doing business.

Anderson said the required iron structure complete with a cover each cost $22,000 and they were congratulated on the uniformity.

However, yesterday morning, they were informed they could no longer sell there.

The irate woman said she has eight children and has to sell.

Anderson said it is unfair to prevent them selling after they complied with the rules set by City Hall.

Another seller, Jimmy Jackson said he has been there for more than 21 years and he, too, confirmed they were requested to beautify the location if they want to remain there.

He said he has financial commitments, including repaying a bank and, therefore, cannot be out of employment.

One more vendor, who did not want to be named, occupies a spot on Brickdam where liquor is sold. She also said the notice is too abrupt, as she has two others with families in her employ.

“You just can’t come and throw people out of bread and butter,” she remarked, adding “they did not even sit down and talk this thing over.”

She said she has been at that place for at least 35 years and recently spent some $200,000 to renovate her stall.

The K&VC snackette on Lombard Street is targeted for demolition, as well, in the M&CC drive.