High Court orders City Hall to prohibit vending in front of Shamdas Kirpalani
High Court Judge Simone Morris-Ramlall has ordered the Town Clerk to instruct the Constabulary of the City of Georgetown to prohibit pavement vending in front of the Shamdas Kirplani store located at 107 Regent Street, Lacytown, Georgetown.
The ruling was rendered last Wednesday at the High Court in Demerara. Earlier this year, Kanayalal and Meera Kirpalani – the transported owners of the Regent Street property – filed judicial review proceedings against the Town Clerk of the City of Georgetown to have it prevent any person or persons from vending on the pavement in front of the store.
According to the Kirpalanis, the encumbrance of the pavement and road by vendors has over the years affected their business. They deposed that there is an encumbrance of the pavement and persons who traverse the pavement are greatly inconvenienced as at most times the vendors occupy most of the pavement.
They said that vendors trespass on their property by placing or hanging items on the grillwork of their building and/or by bracing the southern walls of the property. As a result of pavement vending, the Kirpalanis stated that their customers cannot park in front of the store.
“Because of the congestion on the pavement, it attracts pickpocketing of customers who come to the [store] and also members of the public who are walking on the pavement. There are at times loud speaking and the use of obscenity by some vendors,” they said.
Additionally, through Senior Counsel KA Juman-Yassin, the Kirpalanis noted that there are on occasions selling of illegal substances such as marijuana as a result of the sellers using the congestion as a cover.
They added that unless vending in front of their store is stopped, they will continue to be inconvenienced and suffer financially losses as potential customers avoid the store because of the pavement/roadside vendors.
In her ruling, Justice Morris-Ramlall held that the Mayor and City Councillors of Georgetown had certain statutory duties under the Municipal and District Councils Act of 28:01 as it relates to regulating vending in the capital city. As such, the Judge granted the orders prayed for by the Kirpalanis.
The orders in effect compel the Town Clerk to instruct and/or order the City Constabulary to prevent any person or persons from carrying or placing any receptacles or other articles on the pavement which incommode the store owner’s property and/or other persons in the use of the pavement in front of the building which houses the store.
According to the Senior Counsel, the court orders were also made to prevent the placing, storing, and/or causing to be left any box, cart, freezers, and trays on Regent Street immediately in front of the store. Moreover, he said the Judge found that the defence filed by the Town Clerk did not amount to a defence. In the end, the Town Clerk was also ordered to pay $100,000 in costs to the Kirpalanis by January 15, 2022.