City Hall made the decision to “open the roads” to vending for revenue collection and to bring order to the roads, Town Clerk Royston King said on Monday.
During Monday’s statutory meeting of the Mayor and City Council (M&CC), the issue of vendors being allowed to occupy the roadway in front of the Stabroek Market and on Regent Street, was raised by Deputy Mayor Lionel Jaikaran, who noted that he had read of such in the newspapers.
In Monday’s edition of the Stabroek News, a letter from Eon Andrews, President of the Guyana Market Vendors Union, was published. In it, Andrews asked whether the Market and Public Health Committee, chaired by Jaikaran, was instrumental in initiating the exercise, which he noted usually begins around December 15th. He also questioned whether the arrangement is permanent, who set the rates and why, and whether those rates were for rental or whether they represented a “cleansing fee.”
King stated that decision to have vending in the locations was an administrative one, as it has always been, as it is seasonal exercise. He noted that the only difference is that this year, they allowed vendors to set up earlier than usual.
“On the question of the seasonal vendors, that is an administrative matter. It has to do with revenue collection for the festive season and bringing order to the road… If the committee went out last year to look at it and the committee wishes to do that this year again, that can be done; that’s not a problem…,” King stated. “…This is only for this festive season, it is something that we do every year and it is done as part of wider administrative activity…,” he added.
King said that the rates assigned to vendors is done per square foot, and is calculated using a formula from the Treasurer’s Department.
As regards the Market Committee, during the course of Monday’s meeting, it was revealed that the committee, like several others under the council, has not met in some time.
Jaikaran related that he has reached out to Mayor Patricia Chase-Green on several occasions regarding the matter, but no progress has been made. “Every week I’ve been speaking to the Mayor, I think for the last 6 weeks. I have been documenting it in emails to the Mayor and I’m not getting any action…” Jaikaran stated, before adding that he was “in the dark” as it relates to the decision made concerning the vendors.
Being advised by another councillor that as Chairman of the Market Committee he has the power to call a meeting if he so wishes, Jaikaran instructed King to organise such.