Relocation of La Penitence vendors on hold

No decision has been made on vendors facing removal from the La Penitence Market and some of them are still awaiting a meeting with President Bharrat Jagdeo that was supposed to be held a month ago.

Last October, vendors were told that they would have to move, in keeping with plans to turn Saffon Street into a two-way road to ease traffic congestion during peak hours.

On Thursday, a visit to the market found vendors conducting business as usual. Some still expressed concern about whether or not they will have to be moved while others were grateful that no decision has been made. “They gah we on hold,” one vendor told this newspaper. The man added that for the time being he was pleased with the delay in relation to the decision because it meant he could continue his business. “I hope they keep it on hold until the end of the year. This is election year and if they hold it suh long then maybe we gun hear something different,” he opined.

Following the notice to move, the vendors had a meeting with the Public Works Ministry and Mayor and City Council officials. When no definitive action was taken, some of the 50 affected vendors took to protesting outside the Office of the President, resulting in an audience with the President who explored possible relocation sites with them. Independence Boulevard, popularly known as Punt Trench, was identified by the vendors as one of three possible relocation sites. At the meeting, Jagdeo had said that a tarmac could be constructed at Punt Trench and it could be lit and a police mobile unit stationed there.

Vendors had first opposed the Punt Trench location because they feared vandalism and theft.

The President had promised to meet with the vendors in the early part of February but this was postponed because he had only just returned to the country, vendors were told. To date, the vendors have not been given a date when they can meet with him on the issue.

Meanwhile, some 16 vendors had been relocated inside the La Penitence Market to allow for scheduled bridge work on the Sussex Street Bridge. Those vendors have started to rebuild their stalls inside the fish pond area of the market, but none has been able to re-open their business as yet.

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