Congestion outside GPHC threatens emergency operations

Kaieteur News
April 16, 2007

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Senior officials at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation are once again urging the relevant authorities to correct the chaotic vending and taxi service operations outside the New Market Street entrance of the institution.

According to a senior functionary, he has exhausted all the resources at his disposal in getting the police force and City Council to treat with the problem.

He said the situation is increasingly becoming worse as it seems that more vendors and taxi drivers are being added each day.

This causes congestion to the main entrance of the northern wing of the hospital and in critical moments prevents the quick entry of ambulances.

Last year, the area saw an ease in the situation after numerous reports were made to the police by the hospital, but things have once again deteriorated.

He also expressed concern with the raucous behaviour of the vendors who, according to him, can be heard bellowing expletives which can be heard all the way in the hospital.

Minibuses can also be seen using New Market Street to solicit passengers and honking their horns loudly, even though that area has been declared a silent zone.

With regards to the congestion created by the hire cars, a senior functionary of the City Council said discussions were held in the past with a number of stakeholders, including the police, to explore the possibility of erecting a special parking area for the taxi operators.

However, no action has as yet been taken.

The City Council official said that any vending on Council's reserves is prohibited and promised to look into the matter.

A police official told this newspaper that minibuses were disallowed from using New Market Street and expressed surprise that this illegal practice is still occurring.

He noted that ranks are often deployed in New Market Street to ensure compliance but because of human resource deficiencies, they are not always there.

He, however, emphasised that once these minibus drivers are caught in breach, they are penalised.

One confectionary and beverages vendor, who has been selling in front of the entrance to the Accident and Emergency Department for the past six years, said the venture provides the sole means of income for his family of six.

He claims that he always maintains order while plying his business and that the raucous behaviour is indulged in by strange vendors who would sometimes visit the location to earn a dollar.

“Deh got a few regulars here and we does do we business quietly, but there are others who does come fuh mek a hustle sometimes and is dem does cause de trouble. We just trying to mek a living like anyone else and once we doing so in a peaceful way I don't see why deh can't lef we alone.”

He added that since the hospital is without a canteen, their services are critical to visitors to the institution.