Vendors who occupy stalls in the Rose Hall market are annoyed that illegal vending has been allowed to continue on the roadside saying it has been affecting their sales.
On Monday they staged a picketing exercise in front of the market because Regional Chairman, Zulfikar Mustapha and another regional official have given permission for the roadside vending to continue “unhindered.”
According to them, they have to pay a rent for selling in the market, located at the back of the street whether they sell or not.
They said it is not fair for the vendors to be allowed to sell in the front part of the street because in most cases the shoppers would not go all the way there to support them.
Contacted, Mustapha told Stabroek News that if the town council wanted to move the vendors off the roadside they should have provided another place for them.
He did not wish to make further comments though because he said Minister of Local Government, Kellawan Lall was expected to visit the town to resolve the issue.
Chairman of the Rose Hall Interim Management Committee (IMC), Bhadenauth Somrah told this newspaper last evening when contacted that the market does not have the capacity to accommodate all of the vendors. As a result, “roadside vending had gone lawless,” he said. The council met with the roadside vendors in April and promised to create a space for them.
He said the council then paved the shoulders of the road in front of the market at a cost of $1M for them to relocate there.
Somrah who became chairman over three years ago, said that upon completion over 85% of the vendors readily took up spots.
The police also had to be called in to ensure that a few others moved as well although some were bent on remaining in the front.
He said that on Thursday morning the security from the market tried to get those vendors to move as well. They refused and instead phoned the regional chairman who requested to speak to the security.
Somrah pointed out that the security declined to take the call saying “he [Mustapha] was not their boss.” The chairman then contacted Somrah on his cellular phone and told him he was “coming down to put the vendors back on the road” and he did.
The following day, he said the security decided to lock the market gate in protest because the chairman had “jeopardize their positions.”
He said the vendors demanded to know why the gate was locked and he was explaining the reason to them when they heard a “loud uproar.”
They noticed that the chairman and a policeman were trying to break the lock to the gate with a hammer and a hacksaw blade.
At this stage, he said the legal vendors started to challenge the chairman saying it was not right for him to allow the vendors to sell on the roadside. Around midday the market was opened for the vendors to retrieve their goods to take to the Port Mourant market where they normally sell on Saturdays. On Monday, he said the vendors decided to continue to “fight for their rights.”
He pointed out that the chairman “should have come through protocol and hear from the authorities and any pronouncement he made should have been done through the council. Right now the area has become an eyesore with vendors selling all over.”
He stressed that he was “waiting on the intervention of the Local Government Ministry to bring a resolution to the matter.”