Mayor of Georgetown, Ubraj Narine has stated that he suggested to the city council that in order to defend the food and beverage vendors that operate outside of the Georgetown Public Hospital who have been told to move, legal action should be taken against the Ministry of Public Works. The vendors received a final warning from the Ministry to vacate their current vending spots by Monday, December 12.
Narine said that he was only made aware of the notice, which asked vendors to leave and remove their stalls from New Market Street between Thomas and East Streets, after it had been published by the Ministry of Public Works on Monday.
The Mayor stated that the Council did not decide to have the vendors removed and as such legal recourse in best suited to resolve the issue.
“I have advised the Council to initiate legal proceedings against this notice,” he noted.
The Mayor added, “This action cannot be seen as anything other than a deliberate economic strategy aimed at preventing poor people from earning a decent living further pushing them into poverty.”
On Monday night, a group of police officers along with workers attached to Ministry of Public Works stormed the site with tow trucks and forcibly removed a number of the caravans owned by the vendors.
A confrontation broke out, and the vendors pleaded with the police to ignore the orders and let them continue selling their goods since they are not only being removed but also denied access to a different source of income.
Moments later, in order to prevent the authorities from removing the caravans, Narine laid on the road in the path of one of the trucks. He claimed that the Central Government had overstepped its boundary, pointing out that the Mayor and City Council is in charge of the street where the sellers operate.
The caravans were eventually repositioned.
While the Mayor did not object to the vendors being moved, he did add that it needed to be done in a more suitable way. He called on Juan Edghill, Minister of Public Works, to consult with Georgetown Mayor and City Council on the best course of action for moving the sellers to a different location.
The Ministry claims that these sellers have been impeding traffic near the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC), the main public health facility in the country.