‘New look' vendors return to Stabroek Market square
• promise to keep area free of criminal elements

Kaieteur News
March 28, 2007

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Selling under smart-looking green tents and sporting jerseys with Guyanese slogans, several recently-evicted vendors returned to the Stabroek Market square yesterday, in time to hawk their wares during Cricket World Cup and the Easter season.

Most of these vendors sold hats, shades, jerseys and other personal items.

Those vendors along Croal Street alongside Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) all wore aprons and generally the usually heavily littered area appeared spotless for the most part of yesterday.

A group of about eight councilors from the Mayor and City Council (M&CC) of Georgetown accompanied the vendors yesterday morning to the Stabroek Market Square to ensure that they set up shop in keeping with a decision taken at a statutory meeting of the Council on Monday.

People's National Congress Reform (PNCR) Councillor, Oscar Clarke, who accompanied the vendors yesterday, said that the vendors will be allowed to ply their trade until the Council finds an alterative.

He stated that it is the intention of the Council to hold discussions with the vendors on any proposed plans.

City Mayor Hamilton Green told Kaieteur News that the vendors were given permission to return following a recent meeting between him and other City Hall officials.

In turn, the vendors have promised to keep the square litter-free and to discourage criminal elements from using the area as a haven.

“We agreed that they should have new stalls…that they would go by nightfall, that they would have small garbage bins, that they would not litter and if there is litter, they would pick it up,” Green said. “They agreed that they would have orderliness and that they would be a tourist attraction…and that they would keep the criminal elements out of the area.”

According to the Mayor, vendors at Bourda Green have agreed to the same conditions during a meeting with him.

Mayor Green indicated that he was not in agreement with the recent contentious decision to have the vendors removed from the square.

“We are taking rent from these people…you can't take rent from people and then tell them that they can't sell,” he contended.

He suggested that there were double standards in the way the vendors were treated, as compared to the treatment meted out to some other sellers, who were also in violation of the by-laws.

When Kaieteur News visited the Stabroek Square yesterday, many of the vendors had already set up their new, green-topped structures.

Most also wore jerseys emblazoned with “I love Guyana ”. They explained that the tents and ‘uniforms' were initiatives they had come up with since last December.

“I am happy to be back on the road…I will get to pay my bills, pay my children's school fees,” one female vendor said.

Another vendor explained that the decision had come in time for them to earn money during the Guyana leg of Cricket World Cup and the Easter season.

• City Hall officials had removed the vendors from Stabroek Market square about six weeks ago, after contending that they were violating the city by-laws.