Gov’t examining options to help vendors during East Coast road expansion
Vendors plying their trade on the roadside at Plaisance and other parts of the East Coast of Demerara (ECD) railway embankment have raised concerns about disruptions to their businesses with the road expansion project.
Vice President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo, however, said that the government is examining what options are available to help these vendors continue plying their trade.
And while the government finds solutions to appease vendors, he believes the road expansion works will not be delayed.
“They want to be able to continue earning and that is fair.
“We sent back a team today to meet with the vendors to examine where the boundaries of the road will fall,” Jagdeo said while engaging reporters on Wednesday.
He also acknowledged that many vendors are open to the idea of relocation but do not want to be relocated far away from their current places of business. That, however, poses a challenge in Plaisance where available lands are not nearby.
Still, the Vice President assured people that Government Ministers and their technical staff will be engaging with communities directly to determine agreeable solutions.
Plaisance vendors staged protests on Tuesday after they were served with a seven-day notice that they had to move to facilitate road expansion works. Jagdeo on Tuesday said that notice was “crude” and should not have been sent out before officials consulted with the people who would be affected.
Now, while the stakeholders hope to find these mutually-agreeable solutions, Jagdeo said the vendors have been given six months to relocate from the areas where the expansion will occur.
But he does not believe that this extension will in any way delay the roadworks. He said the road spans about 25 miles from Georgetown to Mahaica and there are enough unoccupied spaces where the contractor can begin work in the meantime.
The government has awarded a US$184 million contract for the new four-lane highway which will stretch from Sheriff Street in the city to Mahaica, East Coast Demerara. It is expected to be completed in two and a half years.
The contract has been awarded to China Railway First Group Limited, the Chinese construction firm that worked on the four-lane expansion of the East Coast Demerara public road, which straddles the Atlantic ocean.