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New rules for mobile music vendors

Government’s model music cart

Music vendors will soon have to remodel their carts and operate a centralized location to help curb noise nuisance and traffic congestion in the capital, Georgetown.

“You have to be prepared to compromise to continue your business,” Transport Minister Robeson Benn told the estimated 30 vendors who attended Friday afternoon’s meeting at the St. Stanislaus College auditorium. “The bottom line is that we cannot continue to push these music carts on the road and congest them.”

Assistant Police Commissioner George Vyphuis noted that vendors stop on busy thoroughfares to sell CDs, obstructing vehicular traffic which also competes with pedestrians. He said pedestrians now have to resort to using the roadways because of increased pavement vending.

Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee said authorities were still receiving a lot of complaints from residents that they are being affected by loud music.

However, government’s move to bring order to the music trade did not go down well with several vendors who aired several concerns. They included a reduction in income which now stands at an estimated GUY$5,000 per day and the possibility of many of them having to cease operations.

A committee, which includes five music vendors, has been established to examine modifications of the model music cart that government has built. Authorities hope the new system would be implemented long before year-end

The Guyana Police Force and the Ministries of Home Affairs and Transport are expected to hold talks with the Georgetown Municipality about finding a location for the music vendors to be located.

Instead of playing the music aloud, vendors would be required to carry a list of the songs from which buyers could select and listen on headphones. “The idea is not for them to be blaring at the same time,” said Rohee. Vendors insisted that the best way to attract buyers was playing the songs aloud

Rohee’s explanation was in reaction to vendor, Ann Lewis who feared physical conflict among competing vendors at one location. “That is chaos, that is madness…It will bring envious feelings then they would be in a fight,” she said.

The Home Affairs Minister cautioned the vendors that if they do not comply with the new guidelines, government could pass laws prohibiting them from operating in an undesirable manner.

The Transport Minister noted that government was keen in working with the vendors to comply with the new rules although they were peddling songs in violation of copyright laws. “If the truth be told, you are along a line of piracy of music and I don’t want to talk about the Performing Rights organisation and all those kinds of things which you need to pay attention to run your business properly,” he said.