By Kurt Campbell
iNews was reliably informed that the removal of the ‘water vendors’ was done following the order of Public Works Minister Robeson Benn. Earlier in the week, Ministry of Public Works vehicles were seen taking away persons and their goods.
When contacted this morning, a hostile Benn refused to give any explanation for the actions taken by officials within his Ministry. Benn proceeded to attack the reporter in relation to a press release issued by A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) which was published by iNews yesterday in relation to the koker collapse at Peter’s Hall, East Bank Demerara.
“What nonsense you guys publishing on iNews,” Benn said. He however noted that he does not need to explain why the vendors were removed as it is stated in Guyana’s constitution.
When asked to at least reference the section of the Constitution which gives his officials the authority to remove the vendors, an inimical Benn replied “I am not giving you anything, go and find it for yourself.”
iNews caught up with some of the vendors who said they were told that they were illegally occupying roadsides and reserves which must cease immediately.
When contacted, Town Clerk Carol Sooba, though unaware that the persons were removed, explained that the Constitution of Guyana clearly states that it is unlawful to occupy roadsides for commercial use.
She said it infringes on the rights of all citizens who are using the roadways and causes risk and discomfort.
Others believe that the act also creates unfair competition to legitimate businesses since roadside vendors do not have the required licences and also do not pay taxes.
Some say too that it is an eyesore for the tourism industry and that it sends a negative message. However, others say it was the introduction of what could morph into a unique culture.