– Uncertainty abounds over whether move permanent or temporary
Over 500 vendors and the minibus park located at the Stabroek Wharf will soon have to find another place of occupancy as the Ministry of Public Infrastructure moves ahead with its plan to rehabilitate the dilapidated facility.
With the onus being on the Georgetown Mayor and City Council (M&CC) to find suitable accommodation for the vendors and minibus operators, a meeting was held between M&CC and representatives from the Finance and Public Infrastructure Ministries.
The meeting according to Georgetown Mayor Patricia Chase Green, was to bring Councillors up to date with plans for the Stabroek Wharf, on which construction was expected to begin in early 2018.
“We were written by the Ministry of Infrastructure, saying to us that they will be starting to do construction of the Stabroek Market wharf in the first quarter of 2018. And they’re asking us to relocate all of those vendors,” she said.
She noted that there were 318 stalls on the wharf, while on the southern side of the Market 200 persons plied their trade. She stated that immediately outside the Stabroek Market, there were more vendors as well.
“So, we have to start identifying areas that can house those people when construction on that wharf begins; because they are going to be using that entire area to store the material for heavy trucks to be going in there. So, you couldn’t have vending anywhere.”
“We also have to look at the relocation of all those minibuses. And so they’re asking us to start now. And that’s what (Wednesday’s) meeting was about. Because our Councillors expressed concern about what is going to happen.”
“While the consultations would have started, we would have heard that most likely the vendors would not go back there, but who made that decision?” Chase Green queried. “We didn’t make that decision. So, we have to consult more as to the way forward.”
When contacted on Friday, a representative of the Public Infrastructure Ministry noted that while the Ministry would be doing infrastructural works, responsibility for the vendors rested with the Mayor and City Council.
The Wharf has been in a state of deterioration for some time, with vendors expressing fear for their safety on several occasions.
Sections of the Wharf caved in during September 2014 and March 2015. In June, Town Clerk Royston King had declared that the Mayor and City Council had solicited assistance from the Public Infrastructure Ministry.
The modernised, new Wharf plans were designed by Civil Engineer Kabila Hollingsworth. The design includes a two-storey building with a terrace and stelling.
Some $400 million is expected to be spent on the Wharf.