− Council increases vending fees
Sattie Narine, a vendor of Cotton Field Village, Essequibo, Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam), is accusing the Anna Regina Town Council of unfair treatment.
According to the woman, the Council demolished her stall almost two weeks ago and confiscated the building materials.
Narine, who is a single mother, claims that whenever she visits the Council, she is treated unfairly and in a discriminatory manner.
“The guards always try to put me out, they say I wear quarter pants and right where I stand up many other persons working with the Council pass with quarter pants, the Town Clerk whenever she see me in the compound, order the guards to put me out… I’m not a criminal, am a simple vendor vending,” she explained.
She revealed that the Council has in excess of $200,000 worth of stall materials (zinc, boards, tarpaulin) belonging to her and to date, she has not been able to retrieve those materials. Other vendors whose stalls were dismantled had their materials returned, at a cost.
However, Narine was told by the Anna Regina Town Council (ATC) staff that she could not uplift her materials until the Council held its meeting.
The vendor said that she has noticed that some of her zinc sheets that were ripped off from the structure are missing.
Narine explained earlier that her stall cost $300,000 to construct and it was not a permanent one. During the Council’s dismantling exercise, several tables and chairs belonging to her were damaged. She is now unemployed and is losing thousands of dollars daily.
She labelled the Council’s act as “discriminatory” and called for immediate intervention from higher authorities. She has been vending since 1989.
After the dismantling exercise, which was conducted by the Council in an effort to remove vendors encroaching the road ways, the vendors’ materials were impounded. They were required to pay a fee of $2000 for the return of their properties.
Those occupying the area had erected temporary make-shift stalls that used ‘tarpaulin” for shelter. But in the eyes of the Council, those stalls were permanent, and as such, all were dismantled, rendering the vendors jobless.
“They saying we building permanent structure, our stalls are wooden, it can be dismantled easily, why harass us? Concrete is permanent. What the Council is doing is senseless,” vendors related.
Vendors who spoke with Guyana Times on Thursday morning related that officers from the Council visited them and declared they now have to pay $4800 to vend. One vendor, Steve Reid, said he cannot afford to pay $4800 to the Council when he hardly sells $3000 per day. Reid described the increase in stall fee as unfair.
Other vendors became quite irritable after learning about the increase. Most of the vendors are single parents who sell vegetables to earn a livelihood. They are therefore calling on the Council to reconsider the stall fees.
Mayor of the Town, Rabindranauth Mohan, informed this newspaper that the Council was not against vending, but explained that it should be done in a more organised manner. Following a meeting, Mohan said the Council had decided that vendors should pay for the amount of space they occupy.
He maintains that road side vending is illegal and permanent structures are prohibited.