by Samuel Sukhnandan
Street vending within the country’s capital, Georgetown has posed a major bugbear for past governments, but the Mayor and City Council of Georgetown (M&CC) in a bold attempt to rectify this problem once and for all, has developed a project that will help to organise these vendors.
Georgetown Mayor Mr. Ubraj Narine said Tuesday that the M&CC plans to push for the Stabroek Redevelopment Project to take effect, but explained to media operatives that widespread consultation must first take place before the project is implemented.
“If we at the city level are able to pull this off, it will be something great for the city and our country,” he remarked, explaining that the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) and several private sector bodies were approached to assist.
But Acting Town Clerk Ms. Sherry Jerrick told the meeting that the council will look to engage all street vendors on the project and to get their input. “The aim is to organise street vending. We cannot continue to have vendors vending on the streets of the city, in the manner in which it is currently done,” she asserted.
The City official said the aim is to make stalls for these vendors so that it gives them ownership to something, rather than having them place their goods on street corners next to drains and in front of businesses, and further congesting the city pavements. “It will also make operations of the city better…but the current situation is totally unacceptable,” she added.
Deputy Mayor of Georgetown Mr. Alfred Mentore echoed similar sentiments but noted that there must be a buy into the project from all stakeholders. Although pointing to the fact that the project could take some time before it kicks in. Mr. Mentore is confident that with every hand on deck, street vending could become much more organised.
For many years, these same street vendors, especially the seasonal ones have complained that city constabulary officials harass them daily and oftentimes request bribes.