Vendors who are occupying the old market at Anna Regina on the Essequibo Coast are refusing to move to facilitate rehabilitation works on the deplorable roads in the area.
The main reason for their reluctance is the fear of the losses they will incur and more so, their inability to meet the needs of their families.
The vendors have rejected the Mayor and City Council’s decision to have them move and have promised to protest until permission is granted to remain at the present location.
Mayor of the Township, Rajendra Prabulall had stated that the construction of the new road in the vicinity of the old market was cancelled for the past three weeks as a result of the reluctance of the vendors to move.
“We will no longer allow any further delay and the road work will commence shortly. Vendors on the road shoulders will have to demolish all wooden stalls and occupy the tarmac at Bush Lot,” the Mayor had stated.
He added that over $1 million was spent to upgrade the Bush Lot tarmac to accommodate the vendors who are now reluctant to occupy the facility.
On Tuesday, several vendors vented their concerns including a butcher, Mohamed Wazeer, who stated that he has been plying his trade at the location for the past 40 years. However, he agreed that it is time for the roads to be fixed.
He added that vendors could occupy space at the Cotton Field tarmac to sell their produce, saying that the market road is in a deplorable state.
“I support the Mayor and City Council’s decision for them to move in order to facilitate the rehabilitation of the road and if I can move all of them can move… Anna Regina needs to develop and not look like a shanty town,” Wazeer noted.
Meanwhile, a provision and vegetable vendor, Sattie Lall related that the Council charges them $2000 per day to vend and with the high price of provisions, there are slow sales. “If we move, most of our usual customers will no longer purchase produce from us,” she stated.
Another vegetable vendor related that vending is her living. She is a single mother of two and noted that vending provides the necessities for her family to be comfortable. She also noted that business is slow most days, thus resulting in her taking home her vegetables.
“We need the roadside vendors to move… Because of them, there is no sale inside the market. Everybody that visits the market purchase their fruits, vegetables, provision, and clothes right by the road side… People hardly come in the market to purchase from the vendors in here… We need sales also not only them,” a clothes vendor said.
Even with the reluctance of the vendors to move, the Mayor and City Council is prepared to do everything in its power to start construction as soon as possible.