Police equally responsible for escalation of illegal vending in city – Nandlall

Illegal vending in the city of Georgetown has been an ongoing problem for decades, with the Mayor and City Council (M&CC) facing backlash over this issue. However, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall said the Guyana Police Force (GPF), tasked with upholding law and order in the country, is equally responsible for the escalation of this issue over the years.

Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister Anil Nandlall

“While the city council has a statutory power and a statutory duty to address these matters and remove these unlawful encumbrances and unlawful vending from the streets and the public reserves within Georgetown, the Guyana Police Force (GPF) also has an overriding objection to ensure that there is law and order,” Nandlall said during his weekly live programme ‘Issues in the News’ on Tuesday evening.
According to the Attorney General, it is illegal to block pavements and public roadways, to block someone’s entrance, to vend without permission and to erect permanent structures without permission on public roadways and reserves.

Street vendors being removed last week by M&CC from outside Demico House following a High Court ruling

“That is their duty under the Police Act but there has been a combination of neglect both at the city council and the police force for decades, resulting in a monstrous situation of unlawful vending with the resultant chaos, disorder, garbage and unhygienic conditions,” he added.
The AG’s comment came days after the municipality removed vendors from the environs of the Banks DIH’s Demico House, Stabroek following a Court Order.
Nandlall further pointed out that he is not against vending but the piling up of garbage, stench and other unhygienic conditions around the city cannot be tolerated.
“I am not against vending… I used to be a market vendor, I know about market vending but you cannot squat illegally, you cannot vend illegally, you cannot vend in such an unhygienic and disorderly manner, it will not be tolerated in a civilised society,” he noted.
Banks DIH had claimed in the court action that the vending situation outside its premises adversely affects business operations. The High Court Judge earlier this month ordered that the City Council remove all materials obstructing the business including stalls, carts and pallets.
Similar court orders were granted in favour of Discount Store on Regent Street, Georgetown, Muneshwers Ltd. on Water Street, and Shamdas Kirpalani located on Regent Street, Georgetown.
Nandlall said he hopes such actions continue to restore the city to an orderly and beautiful place.
He refuted claims that the moves are racially motivated. “Whether you black, red, green or brown, this government will not tolerate squatting,” he said.
The Public Works Ministry has also issued warnings to vendors along the Seawall, Kingston, Georgetown to desist from erecting permanent structures on the government’s reserves.