Vendors complain of slow, biased relocation system
As the row between the Georgetown Mayor and City Council (M&CC) and the vendors continues, vendors are yet again dissatisfied with the relocation system. However, Town Clerk Royston King is confident that the system is fair.Vendors are complaining about the slow pace of the system of relocation is going.“I am out here since 7:00am and can’t get through yet,” a vendor told this newspaper at 16:30h.The town clerk indicated that the process was moving at that pace since the council is trying to ensure the process is “fair to everyone”.On the other hand, some vendors are contending that there may be some biasness in the allocation process since a number of persons are going to the Market Clerk subsequent to them and are given spots even as they wait.However, the Town Clerk in contesting this argument noted that the council is operating in phases to relocate the vendors to the temporary location beginning with the 133 vendors. He added that the 133 vendors have been registered with the market and Council and are known to the council to do business in that area.“The council has a register and we are working with it. That register is managed by the Market Clerk and I am confident that she will do a job that is fair,” King told this publication.He acknowledged that the Council has a huge problem with unregistered vendors, who are now coming forward to claim spots ahead of those registered.According to him, the council will give preference to the 133 registered vendors and will also accommodate a few from America Street.“There are some we will allow to remain back down to the Water Street area in a more organised manner but right now we are dealing with the vendors around the Stabroek Market Square.”The Town Clerk noted that he is happy about the temporary location and is encouraging patrons to support this move.Even as this is being done, some vendors are still not pleased with the new arrangements.One vendor who sells drinks said the new arrangements are not financially feasible for his business.“This location is a waste of time because we depend on people who travel with public transportation to support us and if we go there nobody will come there to buy a drink and go back,” the upset vendor complained.Prior to the relocation, over 400 vendors had plied their trade in the Stabroek Market area, however the new location can only accommodate 150 tents—at a squeeze at that.Vendors are aware that the space is insufficient to facilitate them but King said the Council is trying to facilitate as many vendors as possible.“We will accommodate as many as we can but when we reach that bridge we will cross it,” he said.According to vendors, they are faced with two alternatives if not awarded a spot – they will go back to their old spots or look for other work.One vendor contended that the City Council is taking away his honest means of making a living, noting that he is disappointed.“They putting we out of honest living,” the man said.Over the past week, vendors operating in the vicinity of the Stabroek Market Square were engaged in heated confrontations with M&CC after word surfaced that the council will be relocating them to facilitate works on the area for the 50th Anniversary of Guyana’s Independence.The relocation is said to be temporary.Meanwhile President David Granger on Friday called on the Council to hasten its efforts to prepare and provide an alternative location for the vendors.