Town Clerk urges vendors to sell off current stocks
- says relocation inevitable

Kaieteur News
February 23, 2007

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Town Clerk Beulah Williams is maintaining her position that vendors operating on the Stabroek Market Square must be removed. She has urged vendors to clear their current stock and prepare for relocation.

Williams told vendors who gathered for a meeting at City Hall that they will be allowed only temporarily onto the Square after road repairs have been completed.

On Tuesday, a Motion brought by Williams seeking to remove the vendors was shot down by Councillors during an emergency Town Council meeting.

Williams told the vendors that, since the Council voted for them to be returned, there was not much that she could do but to allow vending to continue outside Stabroek Market.

During the meeting, vendors agreed to discontinue selling in the area and to allow for road crews to carry out repairs in the area.

Some vendors vouched to find other means to sell their products, including “walk-and-sell” and selling from mobile vehicles. “You can try as best to sell for now while the road works are ongoing, but it is advised not to be there. I would also advise you to sell off whatever you have now, because you will be relocated. The situation outside of Stabroek Market cannot continue forever,” Williams told the vendors.

Generally, vendors were satisfied with the meeting, and some expressed the view that the meeting should have been held prior to Monday's eviction. Vendors are being prevented from setting up their stalls in the area, despite being armed with an injunction preventing their removal, and having the backing of the majority of Councillors, who voted for their return to the Square.

Minister of Works and Hydraulics Robeson Benn explained, on Wednesday at a media briefing at the Office of the President, that the vendors could not be allowed back since the road construction workers needed unhindered access to the area.

Minister of Local Government Kellawan Lall stated that the eviction of the vendors was part of a wider initiative being undertaken by the Government to restore the image of the capital city by changing attitudes and reversing effects that were caused by years of neglect.

Government's position on the vending issue clearly states that the Stabroek Market area must be cleared.

“It is going to remain open, and we are going to preserve that historical site and make it a major tourist attraction…That is our long-term plan. All buildings and all vendors are going to be removed,” Lall had stated.

The People's National Congress Reform reiterated, yesterday, that it condemns the inhumane, brutal and unjust treatment of small vendors in the vicinity of the Stabroek Market by the Government, acting through the Town Clerk.

The PNCR, in a statement, expressed the hope that good sense will prevail and that the economic lives of hundreds of citizens would not be ruined by this irresponsible action.

The Stabroek Market vendors can be broadly fitted into two categories, namely those that were allowed to build permanent structures and those that have temporary, movable structures and are allowed to ply their trade from 6:00 am – 6 pm daily.

According to the PNCR, in the first category, the City Council permitted these structures to be erected, and has, for more than thirty years, been collecting rates and taxes from the proprietors.

The party questioned the motive behind the City Council issuing notices to the proprietors to dismantle their structures and remove from the location within seven days after being on the location for more than thirty years.