Vendors complain about City Hall’s ‘anti-business’ stance
– claim they are “blocked” from selling during Jubilee
The Georgetown Mayor and City Council (M&CC) is being accused of adopting an anti-business stance
towards vendors who are plying their trade around the city, with the most recent such example being a decision to stop vendors “under the clock” from using umbrellas to protect their merchandise from sunlight and rain.
The vendors told Guyana Times on Wednesday that they were informed by City Hall that umbrella use was now restricted and they were only allowed to cover their goods with cloths or tarpaulins.
Vendors say they were informed by the Council that the use of umbrellas was always banned; however, the authorities were being lenient due to the heavy May/June rainfall.
This publication understands that the vendors were told that the ban would now be implemented being that the “rainy season has eased up”.One of the vendors related that the Council had “barged” into her stall and removed her umbrella which was used to protect her items from discoloration caused by the sun.
She accused the Market Clerk, Stanley Lovell of wilfully plotting against the vendors for unknown reasons.
“Mr Lovell is going on with wicked things towards the people out here; we need something to be done about this. He is just sitting in his office and making demands without even thinking about the vendors.”
Holding back tears, an elderly vendor explained her plight in light of the decision by the Council to restrict the use of umbrellas. She noted that over the years, she had been a victim of the torment of the Council which has put a strain on her business and livelihood.
The woman said with this move, vendors now have another burden of trying to protect their goods so they were not damaged.
She noted the alternative of using tarpaulin to cover the goods given by the Council was anti-business.
“We need to display our items so we can’t use any cloth to cover it. We have to use our umbrellas. This is very unfair to us and we will not let it rest here,” the elderly vendor remarked
The vendors are calling on the Government to consider the plight of “poor people” who are trying to survive in Guyana and rescind this decision.
Meanwhile, vendors also condemned a Government-imposed restriction on vending for the Jubilee Float Parade and flag raising events.
On Wednesday, the National Commemoration Committee announced that vending would only be done on May 26 under the condition that the vendors register their stalls between Wednesday and Friday of this week, on a “first come, first sold” basis.
Vendors were urged to register with the Ministry of Education’s Department of Culture, Youth and Sport, before 15:45h on Friday.
The vendors are furious over the decision by the Government, since it was customary for them to ply their trade during parades, a time when retail businesses blossom.
They told <<<Guyana Times>>> that the constant changes being implemented by the Government were significantly hindering their businesses.
The vendors related that they had respected the decision by the Government to have the Republic Day float parade shifted to May 26 for the grand Independence celebration, but this was accepted under the position that every aspect of the parade remained the same.
One vendor, Akeem Peters indicated that selling beverages was his only means of livelihood and he usually looked forward to the increased sales during the float parade.
“When this parade comes, all my stocks sell out and I have to go back and buy just because sales are so much. Now I heard we have to register, and I don’t agree to this. What if we don’t have the time to register, what we, the poor people, are going to do then?” Peters questioned.
Another vendor vented her frustration at the move by the Government, describing it as “inconsiderate”.
“This move doesn’t make any sense in my opinion. All the Government doing is teaming up with City Hall against us. I would expect them to have our interest at heart, but all they are doing is taking away our sales, this is unfair,” the woman alleged.
Other vendors also expressed disagreement with the announcement.