Several vendors who have for years plied their trade in the vicinity of the Bourda Market are today mourning the loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars in produce after the city administration decided to stop all vending on Robb Street between Alexander and Bourda Streets.
Yesterday afternoon, wholesale and retail vendors operating in the area were greeted by city constables manning barricades when they showed up to sell their produce. The constable informed the vendors that until further notice no vending was to be allowed in the area.
City Hall has made no public statement about the decision and Stabroek News was unable to contact Public Relations Officer Debra Lewis for comment on the action.
According to the vendors they were given no warning of the city’s decision and had never been told that they were in violation of any of the city’s provisions.
“Nobody notify we. We aint know nothing. We sell yesterday and nobody come and tell we anything but when we come today they say we can’t sell until further notice,” a frustrated Allison Fowler said.
Also incensed by the city’s decision was President of the newly-formed Guyana Market Vendors Union, Eon Andrews.
Andrews told Stabroek News that something must be wrong at City Hall for such actions to be taken.
“How the city can just turn up on one of the busiest vending streets in the city and decide to halt vending without explanation?” he questioned adding that “something is not right at City Hall.”
He explained that decisions on vending or changes in vending ought not to be made without consultation.
“There must be talks between the city administration and the vendors and we at the vendors union are prepared to be a voice of the vendor at the table.” he said.
Town Clerk Royston King had previously told vendors that they could pay a $1000 weekly environmental fee and vend where they were as long as they kept the space clean.
However, reports reaching Stabroek News are that yesterday after King along with a team of council officers did a “walk through” of the block the decision to halt vending was communicated to the constabulary.
The city’s chief administrative officer according to sources has claimed that the vendors were contributing to insanitary conditions in the area.
“They said it’s because of the garbage in the area but that is not we fault,” one vendor told Stabroek News.
The vendors told this newspaper that they are not the only ones disposing of garbage on Alexander Street and that it was the city itself which recently removed a garbage compactor from the area which was causing the buildup.
The City of Georgetown recently assumed responsibility for the collection of garbage in several wards of the city including the “main commercial districts.”
This decision was made after the two main garbage collectors Cevon’s Waste Management and Puran Brother’s Waste Disposal threatened to strike as they were owed in excess of $250 million by the city.
It is this decision according to vendors which led to the garbage pile up.
“They had a Puran Brother’s compactor by Mike’s Pharmacy but they move it and since then the garbage building up `cause people still throwing garbage there and nobody ain’t moving it,” Patricia Gathers explained.
Some vendors sought to sell their produce elsewhere.
Ramnarine Ramsood, a wholesale vegetable vendor, decided to park his vehicle on the pavement of Alexander Street and attempt to “make a few sales” since he has a lot of perishable goods.