Vendors occupying the Parliament View mall at Hadfield and Lombard streets yesterday complained bitterly about the conditions under which they have to vend when it rains.
City Hall had signed a three-month contract to utilise the vacant lot that once housed a Royal Castle outlet for vending purposes. It had installed lights and resurfaced the lot, but there seems to be a drainage problem as vendors are faced with water lodging in their stalls.
Yesterday morning, was one of many where vendors had to be vigorously sweeping out water from their stall space and the entrance. When this newspaper visited the site, clothing vendors who were the most affected had to use pallets as makeshift bridges for customers to walk on. Vendors also complained of the tents provided becoming porous when it rained. Several tents were completely damaged while others had to be propped up with solid objects.
Many stalls were also empty as vendors have either moved out or did not sell yesterday.
Debra (only name given), one of the vendors, told Stabroek News that when she arrived at the site yesterday morning she was greeted with water. She noted that the area in which clothing vendors operate, which located more to Lombard Street is low-lying allowing water to be lodged. She said they have to use brushes and brooms to get the water flowing out of the way. She also stated that they had to invest in buying pallets for customers to walk on.
Another vendor who sells at the entrance said that he was terribly affected by a large pool of water in front of his stand. He added that because of the amount of water lodged between the stalls and the walkway, the vendors are referring to the area as “Water Street”.
Faye Frith was only occupying part of her stall. She told this publication she could not utilize the full stall space because of the muddy conditions. “People don’t want to come… and buy because of the slush on the ground… Nobody wants to stand up in this mud,” she said in disgust.
Frith said she would like to be relocates to the front, rather the beverage vendors, who she believes do not need to be in front. The woman further explained that since she moved to the new spot her sales have declined drastically.
Hugette Stewart, a beverage vendor, complained that when it rains vending becomes uncomfortable. She said that when she was selling on the road she had a more comfortable shed that had a tarpaulin preventing rain from getting to her and her customers. She also complained about the weak tents provided. She said whenever the wind blew the tents would lift up despite the fact that they are all linked.
The vendors occupying the area had been retailing in the vicinity of Stabroek Market Square, Water, Longden, American and Croal streets.
The vendors had opposed the city’s plans to relocate them, saying that the area was unfit for business.
City Hall had justified the relocation as a part of its plan to reshape not just the scenery of the Stabroek Market, but also the ambience of the area.