The Main Opposition People’s National Congress Reform yesterday slammed the destruction of stalls around the Stabroek Market area.
At the party’s weekly briefing, leader of the PNCR Robert Corbin forwarded the view that this decision to dismantle the stalls, thereby provoking unrest and instability, was taken long before the grenade explosion.
He said that before the explosion on Wednesday, some vendors were alerted to the impending action and urged to remove their wares to avoid losses. Thus, he said, “The excuse of the grenade explosion will, therefore, fool no one.”
According to the party leader, many of these vendors have been struggling to make a living in a legal manner in circumstances where no jobs are available. He said that their right to work and earn a living is enshrined in the Guyana Constitution. Corbin recollected that the issue of vendors selling around the Stabroek Market was the subject of a Court ruling by Madame Justice Desiree Bernard when similar action was attempted before the last Cricket World Cup.
The compromise arrived at then was that the vendors would be permitted to ply their trade between the hours of 6:00 am to 6:00 pm daily, that their stalls would be removed at the end of the day and that they would maintain their selling area in a clean and tidy condition.
Corbin said that it is obvious that the right of the vendors to sell was a concession won and amounts to a license by the Georgetown City Council. Any attempt to revoke that license, therefore, ought to have been accompanied by proper notice and at least prior notification.
He further bemoaned that “no sane Guyanese would fail to support action to bring order and cleanliness around the Stabroek Market. No sane Guyanese would also question any efforts to ensure the security of citizens.
“Indeed, this is the function of the Guyana Police Force that has been boasting of intensified efforts, particularly during the last holiday season, to ensure security around Georgetown. Throughout this period, no serious incidents occurred so it is mind boggling how this sudden explosion of a hand grenade would lead to the
present actions of the PPP/C regime.” Corbin continued that the unconscionable destruction of their property by agents of the Jagdeo regime is clearly provocative and intended to disturb the peace of the City of Georgetown.
“It is significant that this action was managed without the knowledge of the elected Council of the City and under the direction of the Ministers of Local Government, Mr. Kellawan Lall, Minister of Demolition Works, Mr. Robeson Benn and Minister of Home Affairs, Mr. Clement Rohee.
Mr. Kellawan Lall using his alleged powers as Minister “took control of the staff of City Council who are now working under his direct control.”
The Party leader said that the PNCR is, therefore, in full support of the vendors who have a constitutional right to represent their interests.
He called on the administration to cease, what he called, provocative actions which can only disturb the peace we have enjoyed over the past years. These vendors, it was articulated, have a right to work and it is the duty of the State to provide the conditions for them to make a decent and honest living.
The PNCR will, he contended, continue to make representation on behalf of these stall holders until an amicable resolution is found. Scores of disgruntled vendors on Thursday picketed Government ministries and City Hall protesting the demolition of their stalls.
More than 60 vendors commenced their march outside the Stabroek Market, gathering outside respective ministries and demanding that the subject Ministers take note of their distress as workers and as humans with families to sustain.
They posited essentially that this wanton demolition is too reactionary and exaggerated.
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