President David Granger on Friday endorsed the clean-up of the Stabroek Market Square and called on the Mayor and City Council of Georgetown to hasten efforts to prepare and provide an alternative location for the vendors, who have been removed from the Stabroek Market Square.
“I deeply regret that there has been some delay between the removal of the vendors, the cleaning up of the square and the resettlement… I would urge the City Council to hasten the resettlement and ensure that every legitimate vendor is given a place to conduct his or her business in a lawful and more sanitary manner,” President Granger was quoted as saying in a Ministry of the Presidency statement.
His comments came hours after a number of vendors continued to raise concerns that their livelihoods were being affected because they are being dislocated by central and local governments that that have voted for.
Town Clerk, Royston King has already ruled out the return of the vendors even after the three-month period has expired. “No one will be allowed to that particular square to do business…the Stabroek Market square will be fitted as a civic square for the benefit and pride of all Guyanese,” King stated.
The President, who was at the time responding to a question from a Journalist from Stabroek News, after a recording of the Public Interest expressed disappointment over the delay in resettling the vendors but said he supported the clean-up efforts. He noted that while there may have been some ‘hiccups’, he is satisfied that the vendors were consulted and informed about the move.
“Again, I’d like to urge that the City Council pay attention to the humanitarian side of the cleaning campaign and to make sure that the vendors know what is in store for them. I am satisfied that prior to the move the vendors were consulted and the only disappointment is that the City Council was not able to deliver the promises on time, but from what I can say they’re working,” the President said.
He noted that the Stabroek square is a public space and any citizen of Georgetown or any visitor must be given free access to public places, without fear.
“Over a period of years the use of that public place has degenerated and it became very unsanitary and there’s evidence that a lot of unlawful practices were conducted there. I support the work of the Mayor and City Council to rectify the public area and to put vending on a more orderly footing. This city has to be cleaned and when you look at the conditions that existed in what used to be called ‘Jurassic Park’, nobody had said that Stabroek square did not have to be cleaned up…. What I would say is let us work together with the City Council to ensure that the vendors are properly accommodated so that they can pursue their economic activities in a legitimate and orderly manner,” he said.
Asked whether it was fair that the vendors from the Stabroek Market Square were required to move while those on the pavements remain, the President said that it is expected that things will be done in a sequential manner and not all at once.
“I don’t know about the use of the word unfair, what I know is that Stabroek square is a public place and I support the efforts of the City Council over the last seven months or so to clean up all public squares… Everything cannot be done simultaneously. Things are being done in a sequential manner… I do believe that the feeling in the population at large is that they’re doing a job which needs to be done,” he said.
The President said he believes and expects that Georgetown will be a healthier, more aesthetically pleasing place at the end of the process.