Last evening’s weekly seawall ‘lime’ was a shadow of its former self as the change in location attracted only a handful of patrons, as opposed to the hundreds who traditionally congregated along the Rupert Craig Highway between the Russian Embassy and Conversation Tree.
Minister of Works Robeson Benn had announced that the event would be moved to the stretch of seawall between Camp Street and Vlissingen Road and that the road would be made a one-way to facilitate the smooth flow of taffic.
No more than five vendors turned out along the length of seawall between Camp and Vlissingen, although the area at Vlissingen sported a somewhat larger concentration of vendors and patrons.
Anne Jemmoth, who had been vending along a stretch of seawall on the Rupert Craig Highway for more than twenty years, said that she is concerned about her future.
When Stabroek News visited the area at around 6pm, she said that she hoped the lights there would be switched on since patrons usually will not hang around the darker regions of the seawall. She said that the lack of light also means that she would not be able to stay out as late as she used to. Both issues, she said, are likely to cause her to lose money, since patrons hardly ever come out early. When this newspaper returned to the area around 9pm the lights still had not been turned on.
Another vendor said that while he does not mind the move, something has to be done about the parking arrangements. He said that there is limited parking on the road which means that the vendors and vehicle owners will have to compete for space once more vendors relocate. Nicholas Ramcharran, said that while he had never operated between the Russian Embassy and Conversation Tree he still applauded the initiative taken by the Public Works Ministry to regularise vending along the seawall.
He alluded to a meeting to be held on Wednesday between the Public Works Ministry and vendors where it is anticipated they will be informed about the requirements for acquiring an “initial” three months permit.
Police barriers kept persons from parking along the northern stretch of the Rupert Craig Highway between the Russian Embassy and Conversation Tree, while traffic cones achieved the same end on the southern carriageway. There were also officers stationed at the intersection of Sheriff Street and the Rupert Craig Highway as well as at Vlissingen Road in the vicinity of Celina’s. A police patrol unit was also seen traversing the area to ensure compliance.
The revelries were removed from this section of the seawall after it was overtopped by high tides which flooded oceanfront residential areas from Kitty to Liliendaal last week. Minister Robeson Benn blamed patrons for the build-up of garbage in the drains which prevented the water from reaching the Liliendaal pumps quickly, and for the erosion of the embankment which affected the integrity of the sea defences and was also carried into the drains.