While vendors have been allowed to sell in open spaces around the Stabroek Market once more, Mayor Patricia Chase-Green says City Hall did not waste money by removing them from the Stabroek Square last year.
“I don’t think we wasted money in that area. The council wanted that place cleared, especially the civic square (in front of Stabroek Market) and we accomplished it,” she said, before adding that no vendor would be allowed to go back to the square or in front of Demico House and the former KFC building, which they once occupied.
“Quite a number of crimes have been committed in that area and we had to do something,” the mayor added. She also stated that the flow of traffic within the Stabroek Square has also improved. She pointed out that the Guyana Fire Service, which is headquartered in the area, can have its fire tenders leave the station quickly when the need arises.
The mayor’s comments came in light of vendors being permitted to sell in open spaces in the area following the expiration of the lease for the city’s rental of the lot at Hadfield and Lombard streets, dubbed “Parliament View Mall.”
Following a major clean-up last April, vendors who plied their trade in the open areas close to and on the civic square were removed. The Mayor and City Council (M&CC) had said that the move was done to keep the area clean and open to the public.
However, during the Christmas season, vendors were granted permission by the mayor and the Chairman of the Markets Committee Lionel Jaikarran to sell in the vicinity of the Route 42 minibus park until December 31. However, they remained in the area after the lease of the Hadfield and Lombard streets land came to an end and they could not be properly relocated.
Addressing plans to accommodate vendors, Chase-Green said the city council is looking to build two malls. She added that while they are having discussions for funding to erect the malls, the council’s priority is the Kitty Market reconstruction, which is still to be completed.
She added that over the years the city has tried to reduce street vending by establishing the Vendors’ Arcade, the Donkey City Mall and Merriman Mall but failure to monitor street vending has resulted in recurrences. “It is our fault we have not monitored it in the past but we will this time around,” she said.
Chase-Green added that to address the situation the council has decided to register all the vendors who are currently on the streets “so when time comes they would be ones going into the mall.” She further explained that any vendor found on the streets after the registration period, which ends in March, would be removed. According to the mayor, strict measures would have to be put in place for street vending and she is hoping that by 2018 they would have control over the situation. “It is a difficult task to accommodate 400 persons, but we are burdened with it and we are going to try, like the president said, and have them properly housed out of the weather,” she added.