Stallholders claim authorities ignoring recurring issues
- Sanitation, poor security among grievances
Stallholders from several municipal markets have recently been expressing frustration with the existing situation in the locations at which operate. Many are complaining of recurring problems – from sanitation issues to the absence of appropriate security procedures – while insisting that the municipal authorities continually “turn a blind eye”.
The stallholders’ society of the Stabroek Market, in particular, believes that better standards for security need to be implemented. Vendors expressed that the continued presence of “loiterers”, many of whom can be found at the main entrance of the facility, is for the most part what encourages a free-for-all environment.
“We want a constant presence and vigilance of the police or constabulary department here to have this sort of operation (illegal buying and selling of gold) completely removed. Every time we call the constabulary or the police outpost to address any issue that a stallholder might have, they tell us that they don’t have ranks to send. We are at the mercy of some funny characters.”
Concerns were also expressed about the welfare of consumers and commuters, who traverse the environs in the adjacent bus parks.
“Every time someone comes through those gates there is a cluster of men harassing them asking them if they buying gold or selling gold. Sometimes when people gold jewellery get snatch the thieves come right here under the clock, or in some corner, and sell it to these very men. Nobody can’t talk; they threaten you and it’s not fair to us who abide by the rules,” one stallholder said
“Every single day people are robbed in this market, sometimes with the use of weapons, and we are concerned about it. It is reflecting negatively on the market; people are afraid to come here to do business.”
Meanwhile, stallholders at both La Penitence and Bourda Markets voiced their displeasure at having to operate under almost intolerable unsanitary conditions. Sewage continuously flows in several occupied areas within those facilities. At La Penitence, the stallholders noted that the conditions have been at their worst since persons who started to construct new stalls had abandoned their structures due to the leaking ceiling and unhygienic environs in which they may have to function.
In Essequibo, the Charity Market operates once weekly, while 25 km away at the old Anna Regina Market, the stallholders and the Municipal Council are in a court battle. The authority wants the market to relocate to Cotton Field while stallholders are insistent on staying put.
At present no maintenance works are being done to the structure, there are numerous breakages to stalls, and there is reportedly a problem with sanitation.
The vendors claim that the old Anna Regina market is more accessible to consumers while in the new area vending is only permitted once weekly. They also noted that the accommodation at Cotton Field is relatively small relative to the quantity of stallholders.
The vendors have been legally barred by the Council from doing any maintenance work to the old Anna Regina facility.
A senior Mayor & City Council official told Kaieteur News that with respect to Stabroek Market, the Mayor had requested that the police assist by sending patrols on more regular basis.
The official further stated that the sanitary officers will be sent to assess the conditions of the markets.