Over 150 Anna Regina roadside vendors relocated to Bush Lot car park

…Mayor, Vice-Chair pledges to improve conditions

By Lakhram Bhagirat

More than 150 roadside vendors in the township of Anna Regina, Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam) have been removed to facilitate road expansion works but those vendors are decrying the condition of the new relocation spot.

Vendor Harnandan

The Mayor and Town Council in collaboration with the Regional Democratic Council converted the Bush Lot car park as a tarmac to house the vendors. However, when the Guyana Times visited on Wednesday there were several pools of water lining the tarmac and after a short bout rain fall the entire area was quickly accumulating water. Additionally, there were several mounds of cow feces along with cows, goats and sheep grazing nearby.

Ulex Austin

Most of the vendors would vend either fresh vegetables and ground provisions or other food items. They are contending that the area is unsanitary for them to ply their trade and urging the authorities to ensure that it is properly fixed before relocation.
Ulex Austin, a 67-year-old from the Pomeroon explained that she has been vending at Anna Regina for over three decades now and it is her only source of income. She said that her earnings from selling ground provision and fruits have been able support her family.

Anna Regina Mayor Rajendra Prabhulall meeting with the vendors

“It ain’t nice, the condition here to sell like fruits and some people who sell clothes and so it isn’t too nice. If they could concrete it, it would be much better and I don’t know if they would cover it because they say we cannot build no stand here. We got to use umbrella,” she said.
The pensioner said that the vendors have no issue with moving to facilitate the expansion of the road but they would prefer their relocation be to a spot that is not “unsanitary” and poses as a health risk. Additionally, she is concerned with the number of vendors to be relocated and the very little space in the parking lot.
Another one of the vendors Harnandan told Guyana Times that he has been vending nursery plants there for about 7 years now.
“I am a pensioner and I doing that (vending) for a lil back up because the pension money not sufficient to maintain my family and myself because of sickness take way all that money. Me sick and me wife sick so this money can’t do. You got do a side wuk to get lil money,” he related.

The relocation spot

The pensioner said that the new spot for relocation is not ideal since it will be cramped and serves as a haven for other related illness.
“We wouldn’t do that”
Anna Regina Mayor, Rajendra Prabulall, following a meeting with the vendors on Wednesday told the Guyana Times that the tarmac would be adequately prepared to house the vendors by Friday (today). At the time when he made the comment, there were several pools of water and cow feces on the tarmac along with the entrance being impassible.

The entrance to the Bush Lot car park

There were no works ongoing and Prabulall related that the works stopped to facilitate a meeting but promised that it would resume following the meeting and on Thursday.
“Up to yesterday, the Regional Administration worked on pools of water we saw there. Their work is not completed yet. After these spots are marked out the Region will still have to do some work to get this water off, and also to have some more crusher run in these low areas. This is not quite what we want or require. We are looking in the future, that if this place can be can be paved so it can be used for more than one purposes for the vending and also for other activities as well. So we are going to make this place good by Friday. Don’t worry we won’t do that to the vendors and leave them exposed, we have to flex,” he said.

The mayor further related that the Regional Administration is tasked with the proper construction of the tarmac.
Notice of relocation letters were sent to vendors on July 15, 2021, in keeping with the municipality’s vision for the town. Prabhulall said that the decision to relocate to Bush Lot came out of a meeting with the vendors and officials.
“We have chosen to develop this in collaboration with the Region Administration so the vendors will be placed here. Those that are on the road side that wants to continue their vending will be given a spot 10×10 here and even those with vehicle that sells also will be coming here. So we are catering to like 157 vendors that are on the road site and this includes the market road, the region road, and the main roadway, where we have the pavement and so on,” he related.
He added that there are also over 130 vendors, who utilize the roadside, that have stalls in the markets and encouraged them to occupy those stalls rather than ply on the road.
However, many of the vendors are refusing to go back into the market because it requires infrastructural upgrades and most customers would shop on the roadside.
Regional Vice Chairman Humace Oudit told this publication that repairs have been executed on the markets so that vendors could go back and occupy those stalls.
“Based on the amount of person vending there will be an additional 55 that we have to find areas to vend. So that is why we decided to use the Bush Lot tarmac. Well, it wasn’t in that too good condition so we had to use our machine to do some leveling. Unfortunately, we didn’t manage to complete it yesterday (Tuesday) but we’ll be sending a machine to do some levelling because we understand that there is some waterlogging on site,” Oudit said.
He added that they are also working with the Guyana Water Incorporated to install some standpipes to service the vendors once they have been allocated a spot.
Despite the assurances from both the Mayor and Vice Chairman, when the Guyana Times visited again on Thursday, the area still remained the same. The craters filled with water, cow feces and restricted access was still there. The only difference was that vendors had already marked their spots.