October 1, 2016

City Hall raises vendor’s fees by 500%

The rehabilitated area where vendors will occupy from Wednesday

The rehabilitated area where vendors will occupy from Wednesday

–from $300 to $1500 daily

The Mayor and City Council (M&CC) of Georgetown will be raising the fees for vendors plying their trade at the rehabilitated Merriman Mall.

The new fee is now $1500 daily, jumping from $300.

This huge increasing is not resonating well with vendors who are bitterly objecting to the arbitrary move by City Hall.

Two months after finally being relocated to their initial vending spot, the vendors had opined that everything would return to normalcy.

This thought was however short-lived, as returning to the spot comes with a hefty price tag for rental fees.

The adjusted announcement was made during a meeting on Monday at City Hall to facilitate the way forward for the vendors.

It was reported to Guyana Times by one vendor present at the meeting, that the M&CC had spontaneously ‘dropped’ the mandate, thereby driving shock and frustration through the majority of the vendors.

She related that whereas the vendors had paid $300 per day for the rental before they were moved and while at the Cummings Street location, from Wednesday they would be required to pay $1500 daily.

It is understood that the vendors had tried to negotiate for a reduction, complaining that this was way too high for just a day’s occupancy.

However, their attempts were futile since it was reported that they were told a reduction was not possible.

Since vending is their way of life—their very survival, the vendor who spoke with this publication said they had eventually agreed since the M&CC were stubborn in rescinding the decision.

She said that because of the situation at the cramped Cummings Street location, the vendors would have it any other way rather than continue vending there.

It was indicated to them that they would be moved back to the location on Wednesday of this week, and business would resume immediately at the Mall.

The stalls would be allocated on the basis that either the vendors use the original positioning as they had before, or they would have to take numbers to which stall they would occupy.

Vendors had anticipated the movement since last Wednesday but they reported that upon turning up at the site they were informed this had been postponed until this week.

In January of this year, the vendors were removed from the Merriman Mall after it was declared by the M&CC that the location would from then on be ‘vending free’.

The M&CC apparently believed that removing the vendors from that location and placing them at Cummings Street, would generate more profit for the small businesses.

This decision was made in light of the deplorable conditions which the M&CC had condemned, claiming that this was the work of irresponsible vendors.

There was much back and forth however, with some saying that the shift was temporary while the M&CC had deemed it permanent.

The vendors had earlier been told that relocation was to facilitate the rehabilitation process of the mall and they would be moved back once this was accomplished.

The Merriman Mall location after the relocation had been transformed to become a skating arena for public and private users.

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