Displaced vendors to return to new Mon Repos market within weeks

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The newly constructed Mon Repos market on the East Coast Demerara will be fully operable for vendors within weeks, Minister of Local Government and Regional Development Nigel Dharamlall said as he met with the displaced vendors on Wednesday.

Noting that the vendors have been uncomfortable since February, the Minister of Local Government and Regional Development promised to restore the sellers to their stalls before Christmas. He told them that starting next Monday, the vendors will assist the Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC) with building their individual stalls.

“Whilst you are moving in, we still have to do the perimeter walls. So I hope you wouldn’t mind while you are doing your business, you will have to allow us to do the walls at the same time,” the minister said.

During the outreach, vendors asked the Minister to detail the changes that have been made to the market. Among their questions was whether the stalls had to be built at the vendors’ expense. They were also adamant that shoppers must be able to locate them just as it was before.

Minister of Local Government and Regional Development Nigel Dharamlall  (Photo: News Room/November 2, 2022)

“The NDC and clerks have a register and they know who was where and what they occupy, can we have or hold them accountable to work with that market register?”, “When this structure open back and everybody come in here what will you do with that walkway? So our gate can open there?”, “How ya’ll going to begin to build my own,” were among the questions posed.

Dharamlall assured the vendors that they will work along with the construction team and the NDC to properly return to the market. Further, he has promised that persons will be placed at stalls that are fitting to their previous locations at the market.

The new layout of the market will see persons being placed at stalls that are 4×5 feet in dimension. Construction of the new stalls and finishing work will commence next week. In addition, the installation of lights and fire detectors will be done. At this point, the waterways and a washroom have to be constructed.

In addition, the minister explained that another set of construction works will commence soon. This will be for the western side of the market. A bid has been tendered for the installation of the new structure.

“We are in the final stages of an evaluation. We are going to do a steel structure on this part going west. We are going to decommission but we are not removing anyone. We will not remove you what we are going to do is do a prefab market,” he said and added that the market will have office spaces in the upper flat.

Vendors gathered at the Mons Repos Market during a visit by Minister of Local Government and Regional Development Nigel Dharamlall. (Photo: News Room/November 2, 2022)

According to Dharamlall, the inactive market committee will also be reformed with members who will oversee the concerns of the vendors. In addition, he has promised that persons will be placed at stalls that are fitting to their previous locations at the market.

Vendors were relocated from the market at the start of the construction works back in February and have since been selling near the area. A vendor who spoke with the News Room explained that sales have been difficult to make while being displaced from the market.

Contracting firm – Mohamed Rahim and Sons – undertook the $63 million project. The contract to rehabilitate the market was awarded in November 2021. However, works commenced in February 2022 after the ministry constructed a temporary facility for vendors to ply their trade. Works on the market were expected to be completed within seven months.

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