Vendors who are plying their trade under the collapsing and dilapidated roof of the Stabroek Market wharf will be relocated to the Route 42 (Timehri/Georgetown) bus park, which is located obliquely opposite the Guyana Fire Service, Town Clerk Royston King says.
“We, as a responsible council, could not sit without doing anything to assist those people… We would begin to relocate those vendors who are in immediate danger. We are preparing this area and by next week those vendors should be able to move over,” King said, in an invited comment yesterday.
Since the section of the roof collapsed, King said he had met with the officers from the council and instructed them to prepare the area to accommodate the affected vendors.
“I also met with the Guyana Police Service and asked that they relocate the bus park… that park is currently being operated from where the buses would be when parliament is in session (Leopold Street)… they are handling that,” King added.
Work to enhance the new vending area has already commenced. A temporary steel fence is in place, with cleaning and sanitation works ongoing.
However, due to the uneven surface of the proposed vending space, King disclosed that they will be approaching Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson to have his ministry assist with the resurfacing. He is hopeful that all the works can be completed by this weekend, giving them the opportunity to meet and put systems in place for the vendors.
“I have asked the engineering department and revenue collection department to mark out the lots for the vendors,” the Town Clerk further added.
According to King, after receiving news of the collapse of a section of the roof which occurred around 1.30 pm on Monday, he immediately visited the scene and assessed that the area should be vacated.
“I visited and from my own observation it appears to me that the situation is very unstable and that those people are still in harm’s way. I have since instructed the Clerk of Markets not to collect any rent from those vendors… it is the only fair thing to do…,” added King.
It was further pointed out during the brief interview that the relocation of the affected vendors would pave the way for works to begin on the modernizing of the Stabroek Market wharf.
The plan of works for the wharf remains with the Public Infrastructure Ministry, King said, while indicating that he is awaiting an update from the Permanent Secretary.
Minister of Public Infrastructure David Patterson had stated in May that the design for the rehabilitated wharf was being finalised and would go to tender this year. Work on the project could possibly start as soon as early 2019.
Despite the hazardous situation on Monday, vendors carried on with their daily activities, seemingly unperturbed by the collapse.
Large zinc sheets and broken wooden beams were scattered across old stalls, while broken glass, nails and other material covered the creaking floorboards.
No one was seriously injured.
The rehabilitation project is slated for funding through the United Kingdom Caribbean Infrastructure Fund (UKCIF), which had allocated £53.2 million (approximately G$16 billion) to Guyana.
The waterfront and port development projects at the Stabroek Market have been estimated at US$4.96 million, according to information which had been previously provided by Junior Public Infrastructure Minister Annette Ferguson.
Sections of the roof of the wharf collapsed in September, 2014, and March, 2015, but vendors have continued to ply their trade there, despite the potential danger.