Over 30 vendors who have been illegally plying their trade on Alexander Street were removed yesterday by the Mayor and City Council (MCC).
Instead of Alexander Street being busy with vendors plying their trade and traffic congestion yesterday morning, it was filled with workers from the MCC, Town Clerk Royston King, Public Relations Officer Debra Lewis and a large excavator that was used to clear the street of makeshift structures that have been used by vendors.
According to King, over 30 vendors who had set up tables, pallets and stands were removed and some of the larger structures destroyed. He also pointed out that many persons would also park their vehicles on the road and use it as a depot and they have since been removed too.
“The challenge we have here is some retailers and wholesalers are attempting to extend market and marketing activities on Alexander Street all the way to South Road and Croal Street. We cannot allow this as they are (interfering with) traffic. They are creating all kinds of untidiness in this area and store owners have been complaining about their entrances and exits being blocked by these very individuals and we are removing those persons…,” King told Stabroek News yesterday as he stood on Alexander Street watching on as workers from the City Council demolished and removed various obstacles.
In addition to Alexander Street, King also noted that they are moving to clear sections of Water and Croal streets. He explained that during the nights persons would occupy the corner of Croal Street selling bread and fruits and their activities often impede the flow of traffic. He also noted that the MCC has been made aware of persons slowly returning under the canopy at Demico House at Stabroek Square and emphasized that no vendor is allowed to ply their trade at the Stabroek Square and highlighted that they will be taking stern action to keep the area clear.
“We noticed a creeping return by vendors, particularly in the nights. This we shall not allow. Those areas will be cleared and sanitized,” he said, while noting that if any of the vendors that have been removed are to return then their goods will be seized and they will have to pay a removal fees among other sanctions.
King also pointed out that they also face other problems on Robb Street such as wholesale vendors going beyond their allocated three hours and impinging on the business of the retailers.
“We have been having reports on that and those activities are affecting our legitimate tenants, those stallholders who are paying the council a rent. Stallholders have been complaining that the people in Bourda Green are unable to sell. Now, many of the stalls are shut tight because no business is happening,” King said, while noting that the issue is currently engaging the Council and they are moving to correct it.
He said that the Council is working to achieve the vision where all those who are involved in vending will be allowed to make a fair living whether they are in the wholesaling or retailing business.
Currently, wholesalers are allocated three hours of selling time by the clerk of markets and the council but reports suggest that a majority of them go way beyond their allocated time and sometimes they would sell through the entire day.
“We believe we are doing this in the interest of good profitability for all those involved in vending activities in and around the markets,” King added, while emphasizing that no selling will be allowed on Alexander Street and other streets except for those that have been authorised by the council.
Briefly speaking about the Merriman Mall, he explained that the vendors are “doing business” in the area and addition to repairs, they have some security improvements to commence.
The City Council will be convening a meeting with the vendors at the mall soon where various matters will be discussed and King said they will be encouraged to continue their business.
“We need to raise Georgetown to a new plateau of excellence,” he said.