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Chaos on Camp Street as vendors removed from avenue

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By Bibi Khatoon 

Anger, frustration and tears flooded Camp Street today as vendors who ply their trade on the Avenue in front of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) and the St Margaret’s Primary School were removed by the City Council.

“If everybody come out with some big, dutty, stinking umbrella, wuh hay gon become? Nah like Bourda and Big Market?” one City Constabulary Officer questioned as they implied that more persons are vending at the location and are adding to the congestion.

City Constabulary Officers visited the location around noon and told the vendors that they are required to remove immediately or their items will be seized. News Room spoke to a number of vendors who shared their concerns. One woman said, “this is really unfair” because every Wednesday or Friday, persons from the City Council collect $1,500.” However, it was pointed out that the council does not clean the surroundings.

“They never come, they never say well we give yual notice well…to move because is the public. They just come today and up everybody and say if you don’t move in time, they gon fetch away yuh things…I get a young baby and this is how I earn my money,” one vendor told News Room.

Another vendor, who is employed with a company to sell their food supplies said, “I don’t know if they want we thief or go ‘pick fair’ [prostitution] because we trying to earn an honest dollar and this is what we get.”

The proprietor of Mario’s Juice Bar told News Room that they have been working at the location for close to one year and was never told that the council has any issues.

“They came and say we have to move, no explanation, just like that, all my stuff had to pack. They say they will move the stand by force and we have to come into them. My point is they should inform us…I have staff…we earning an honest money…I have a loan at the bank and this is my living,” the proprietor related.

One man, who has been vending at the location for the past four years, said he is ready to hear what the City Council has planned. It is his hope that being removed from the location means necessary provisions are being made elsewhere.

One woman, whose main customers are students of the St Margaret’s Primary School, related that this is the only way for her to provide for her family.

In tears, the woman said she vends to take care of her grand children, a disabled son and also to pay her medical bills.

“I selling here five years…me and a man jus over there was selling and after that, everybody else start coming and this is my living.”

The woman related that, “I have a son with one eye and this is my living. I have to work to mine maself. I don’t know why they moving me. Wuh we mus do in this country? How we mus live? Yuh gon thief? They gon kill you.”

News Room made contact with Town Clerk, Royston King who related that several persons have been complaining that the vendors contribute to traffic congestion and over-crowding at the already cramped location.

King said the Council’s decision was sparked by complaints from citizens who visit the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) to conduct business. The Town clerk also told News Room that the vendors are selling food items without being in possession of food handling certificates, something which is unhealthy.

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