Barbers and cosmetologists who currently operate along the Merriman Mall between Cummings and Light streets are being removed from the area due to their failure to keep it clean, according to Mayor Patricia Chase-Green.
Chase-Green told Stabroek News that they have been given a month’s notice to relocate their operations to an enclosed area.
When Stabroek News visited the location on Tuesday, the majority of the tents previously used by the barbers and beauticians were broken and abandoned. However, some who were present told Stabroek News they had not received any official word from City Hall informing them that they have to move but read about it in the Guyana Chronicle on Tuesday.
They said they are comfortable at the spot and believe it is unfair that they have to move since they would ensure that the spaces in which they operate are clean and tidy before they leave at the end of the day.
They had been relocated there last year from the pavements of America, Longden, Regent and Croal streets but Chase-Green said they were told since then that their placement on the Merriman Mall was temporary. She also stated that there was a commitment by the operators to keep the surroundings clean and tidy but this was not kept.
According to the Mayor, last August the Markets and Public Health committees recommended that the operators be removed but the recommendation was not acted upon. “We took them off the streets and they said they are single parents and cannot afford to pay for a cubicle,” she said, while adding that the city council found a place for them and also purchased tents to start them off. “Nine months after the condition is like a shantytown. We cannot allow this to continue. It is a popular spot they are occupying and people passing there often. The condition in which the place is kept is an embarrassment to city council,” Chase-Green said in disgust.
She added that she is not being hard on the barbers and cosmetologists but was only following public health guidelines, which state that they should operate in enclosed spaces equipped with facilities to sterilise instruments used. She added that it is unfair that some such workers have to pay to rent stations at barbershops and salons while those who are operating along the Merriman Mall are not paying the $1,000 environmental fee.