September 25, 2016

Mackenzie vendors petition for removal of washroom in front of market

– cite health hazard

 By Utamu Belle

Vendors of the Mackenzie Market at Linden, Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice) have moved to petition for the shifting of a washroom facility, currently under construction, at the front of the municipal building. The washroom is currently being built in the same area where garbage was previously stored, which had caused concerns for years and complaints by vendors.

The washroom facility under construction at the market

The washroom facility under construction at the market

Vendors are upset that the Linden Mayor and Town Council (LM&TC) has turned a deaf ear to their concerns.
Shoemakers are the ones who appear to be mostly adversely affected and have cited concerns for their health, since their stalls are situated in close proximity to the area of concern. Speaking with this newspaper, others noted that people who expressed interest in erecting stalls at the area were also denied the privilege.
“They move a garbage heap to put a toilet. It’s like they telling you, you got a choice between a garbage heap and a toilet. That is no choice at all, because when they ready to remove the faeces from inside there it gonna be a problem for we. Everybody gon gotta clear out from here. They done get toilet at the back of the market, they could have upgraded it. There was no need for a toilet at the front of the market. I ain’t see what sense that making. It’s a park, they should have put some recreational facility…you see these old Councillors leaving, so they ain’t got time with what happen,” a vendor stated.
Yet another stated that there was no consultation and alleged that because of money, a “private” individual was granted permission to construct the washroom at the location while they “suffer the consequences”. Another vendor also indicated that numerous people have signed the petition against the construction.
“They ain’t even consult we nor nothing to say well they gon build this thing to see what we think. They just come and put it up. If you doing something concerning people health, you must consult with them, but they never come,” another affected vendor stated.
Meanwhile, Interim Management Committee Chairman Orrin Gordon said the issue of washroom facilities for vendors at the market arena, including the wharf area, has been an ongoing one. He stated, however, that the issue lay with the main washroom area being situated at the back of the market to which it is difficult for cleaning agencies to gain access.
According to him, there were complaints that hoses could not reach the location given how it is situated. Added to that, Gordon said based on the demand for stalls, the Council would have given permission for some to be erected at the location which vendors presently have an issue with, and subsequently for the construction of the washroom facility. However, he said it was agreed that the facility would be up to standard and health, sanitary and environmental guidelines would be followed.
“Vendors and customers would complain about washroom facility at the back, so we decided to upgrade it. However, when the facility filled, we couldn’t get to empty it because the hose couldn’t meet. We had the same issue on the wharf where people cried out for lack of washroom facility, but we were concerned that the waterways would become polluted. In this case, we had to make a decision given the circumstances”, Gordon related.
He said other issues have arisen since members of the electricity company have complained that the newly erected stalls also pose problems in accessing electricity poles. Gordon said the issues would have to be looked into by the future Council, noting that his Council always got “the bitter end of the stick”.

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