City Council issues removal notice to roadside vendors
In compliance with a recent court order, the Georgetown Mayor and City Council have served roadside vendors operating along Water, Commerce, and Longden Streets with notices to vacate. These notices were dispatched a few days after Muneshwers Limited obtained a High Court order mandating that the city clears the pavement and streets around its Lots 9 and 10 Water, Commerce, and Longden streets premises of any encumbrances. Vendors are required by Section 10 of the City Government By-Laws and adopted under the Municipal and District Councils Act to remove all pallets, trays, tables, mannequins, barrels, cartons, and other encumbrances from pavements and streets immediately. Failure to comply with the notice will result in the Council removing the items. “Resultantly, a storage fee of not less than $20,000 will be applied to all items removed by the Council.
Items not retrieved after one month from the date of removal will be sold or disposed of by the Council. The Council looks forward to your cooperation,” warned the notice. Chief Justice Roxane George, SC, on November 3 issued an order of mandamus directed to the City Engineer to carry out the duty stated in the By-Laws 10 (2) for the enforcement of By-Laws 10 (1) of the City Government By-Laws enacted under the Municipal and District Councils Act Ch 28:01 in relation to the removal of anything whatsoever left, placed or stored such as to encumber the pavement or pavements and street situate around the said property. Failure to comply will constitute contempt of court proceedings being brought against the city.
On October 27, Muneshwers had moved to the High Court requesting an order against the encumbrances, arguing that for over 15 years its operations had been proliferated by pavement vendors in the city of Georgetown and more so in front of its business.
Through its lawyers, Muneshwers submitted that several letters were sent to the Mayor and City Council complaining about the occupation and or encumbrance of the pavements but to no avail.
The company further pointed out among other facts that the encumbrance of the entrance to its store and pavement over the years had caused the persons and customers who traverse the pavement to be greatly inconvenienced as at most times the vendors occupy most of the pavement and now part of the street.
“There was and continues to be a loss of revenue as a result since customers avoided the store since the blockage of the street and pavements instilled the fear of being robbed,” Muneshwers argued in its judicial review application.
As a result of the loss of business, the company said it was forced to lay off several employees, and the congestion attracted pickpocketing and robbing of customers and members of the public.
On occasions, the company contended that the congestion was used as a cover to sell illegal substances such as cocaine and marijuana. Further, it contended that pedestrians found it difficult to access the pavements to their property without having to pass through the varying articles.
Muneshwers was represented by attorneys K A Juman-Yassin and Teni Housty.