City Council has no jurisdiction over Panday’s property – Nandlall

Removal of Water Street vendors

— bond owner denies giving vendors permission to use facility Zinc bond (clean)

The Water Street vendors’ woes have deepen as Malcolm Panday, owner of the former Guyana Stores Limited (GSL) bond from which they were selling, has stated that he did not give any permission for his property to be used.
The vendors were granted an injunction against the Georgetown Mayor and City Council (M&CC) from removing them from the area where they vended on Water Street.
However, Attorney for the vendors Anil Nandlall has challenged Panday’s denial, disclosing that the vendors had indeed bargained with the businessman to vend outside of the bond, on the premise that they act at caretakers for the aforementioned spot.
During an interview on Saturday, Nandlall told Guyana Times the vendors whom he represent have been occupying the premises for a number of years, but there was no occasion where Panday filed an order or requested for them to be removed, even though he is now alleging that the vendors are vending illegally on his property.
He added that the vendors have some evidence in writing to support their contention, in relation to the formal granting of permission by the businessman to occupy the front of the bond for their livelihood.
“It is quite strange and highly incredulous that Mr Panday, having regard to the fact that these people have been there for a number of years, that he never took any steps to have removed from his bond,” Nandalall noted.
He further added that if this was indeed a case of trespassing by the vendors, Panday should have, in his rights, taken legal action against them, instead of waiting years after to assume the position that the vendors are illegally plying their trade on private property.
Nandlall noted that with this disclosure by the businessman and given it is factual, then it further strengthens his case for the injunction to be continued in court against the City Council.
With the claim by Panday, he said this confirms the position that the City Council has no right to remove the vendors, since the land is private property, whether or not the vendors were granted permission by the owner to occupy the external part of the building.
“This demonstrates beyond any doubt that the people are vending on Panday’s property and not City Council’s reserve or parapet and therefore the Town Clerk, City Engineer and the Mayor and City Council have absolutely no jurisdiction to remove them because they are not occupying council’s property,” Nandlall affirmed.
The attorney assured he will continue with the case against the council, since it is fully aware that the property is privately owned but still went ahead in dismantling the stalls of the vendors, in light of facilitating a clean-up campaign.
Meanwhile, Town Clerk Royston King commenting on the claim made by Panday, maintained that the entire area must be free and clear but he would be unable to speak in-depth of the matter, since it is engaging the attention of the court.
When asked about the Council’s disregard for the injunction, King said: “We have always respected the courts. We hold the position that there should be no vending in that area.”
However, as the issue unfolds as to whether it is private or state property, persons vending at the Water Street location continue to raise their contention about being violated by M&CC.
While most of them have recognised the need for the clean-up and what it means to Guyana, some have raised contention about the method which was used to move the vendors.
Guyana Times understands that the council, without indication or permission by vendors, had dismantled stalls along Water Street, resulting in huge losses to some vendors.
Those who vend at that location are calling on the relevant authorities to address the issue promptly so that they can continue their trade on the premises.