“It seems to me that the Minister has assumed municipal duties and intends to control City Hall,” said City Mayor Hamilton Green of Minister of Public Works, Robeson Benn, yesterday.
Mayor pointed out that the Minister without regard for protocol, instructed the Town Clerk and the Chief Constable to have vendors, along Regent Street and Hinck Street in the city, be removed from the place of their operation.
“He bypassed the Mayor and the Deputy Mayor. We were not even aware that the Minister had given direct orders, until the vendors came to us. He chose to go to those officers that are weak and would hurry to do his bidding.”
But according to Mayor Green, “I will not be intimidated by his action. This is a serious matter. They want to talk about shared governance and they are taking over everything in their quest for hegemony.”
On Friday, several vendors converged at City Hall to voice their plight to any official willing to give an ear.
Most of them claimed that they have been vending on the streets for years, noting that that is their sole source of income.
They said that they have been prevented from selling since last week Thursday. They said, too, that they were told that the directive for their removal came directly from Minister Benn.
After listening to the vendors, Mayor Green said that he instructed the Hinck Street vendors to resume their operation, based on the fact that they have been keeping their surrounding clean and tidy, in accordance with an agreement they had with the municipality.
He said that there are reservations about the Regent Street vendors who have not fully kept their end of the agreement.
Minister Benn, in an invited comment yesterday, said that while he has not given any direct instruction to have the vendors removed, he has on numerous occasions requested that the relevant officers enforce the bylaws of the city.
“I have only repeated what is the law, that all persons who are on Government reserves be removed. That is the standard policy of Government,” the Minister asserted.
And the law, he said, must be upheld for the greater public good and safety by the persons who are paid to do so. He added that anyone who chooses to do otherwise, risk operating in contravention of the law, would be dealt with accordingly.
The removal of roadside vendors from the streets, was earlier this year highlighted as still high on the Mayor and City Council’s agenda. Deputy Mayor Robert Williams, had pointed out that plans are urgently apace to implement measures in this regard.
During the last Christmas season, the municipality had given clearance for several vendors to ply their trade along some streets of Georgetown, a development which the municipality had planned to clamp down on.
City Mayor Hamilton Green, had pointed out that while roadside vending is an illegal act, efforts would have been made to restrict the vending activities, rather than prevent it.
He said that although earnest attempts are continually being made to clear the city streets and pavements of congestion created by vending, the council has not been able to fully achieve its objectives.
Williams, at a statutory meeting, had said that the removal of vendors will however be inevitable, because the municipality has an agreement and an understanding with Government to put an end to roadside vending.
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