Kaieteur News – The government has to learn to solve simple problems. They have tried many years to solve the major economic and political problems of this country but their rewards have been failure and mistrust.
People are fed up now with government. But government can restore confidence in itself if it opts to solve some of the simple problems which affects citizens. One of these is the traffic situation in the country. With each passing day, it is becoming a nightmare to navigate traffic in the towns – whether rural or urban.
The situation in Georgetown is made more chaotic by the prevalence of vending. The vendors have their defenders, including highly placed persons in the Georgetown City Council. One of the defences for allowing pavement vending is that the vendors are poor persons who need to make a living. But if you go down Regent Street very early in the mornings, you will be surprised at the number of vendors who arrive with their own vehicles and park on the sides of the roads and unload millions of dollars in goods.
Most of those who are vending are not poor at all. They have the means to open up their own businesses but why do this when they can simply squat anywhere they wish.
Right now, we have caravans which cost millions to make and equip. These are to be found in many parts of the city vending food.
One such unit is located a few feet away from a junction and blocks the view of motorists. It is a threat to road safety but no one dare move these vendors who have their political protectors.
On one of the city’s main thoroughfare there is a caravan and not only is it equipped with cooking utensils but it actually has a drain pipe which drains the waste from its operations into the city’s gutters.
It is not as if the City Council cannot control the situation; it is more as if they do not wish to do so. No vending is allowed in front of City Hall. So if the Council can prevent vending in front of City Hall, what is it to prevent them doing the same elsewhere?
We are in a pandemic and persons can barely walk unobstructed on the pavements. There are vendors plying their trade and virtually breathing down your neck as you walk along the pavement.
But City Hall is not the only culprit when it comes to the disorder in the City. The Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) is a major malefactor in this confusion in which the city finds itself.
Commercial businesses are springing up in every nook, cranny and corner of the city. Wards which were formerly used primarily for residential purposes are now being overrun with commercial businesses. And this means that customers have to find parking and they often do so at the expense of those who live within those areas.
The CH&PA has to put a stop to the commercial expansion of Georgetown. So many businesses simply cannot be crammed into a small city.
Already, it is affecting residential rentals. An average worker cannot find a decent place for a decent rental in the city. He or she has to compete with commercial rates. And this is driving housing rentals upwards to atrocious levels.
All of this is happening because the CH&PA has no system of zoning and in fact has thrown zoning through the window. This has to be regularised.
People are opening all kinds of businesses in any part of the country without any consideration for their neighbours. Not only do some of these businesses have no parking set aside but they are also in many instances resulting in noise nuisance. Old people in many areas are struggling to get a decent night’s sleep.
The time has come for some order to be brought to our country. You cannot have the further expansion of commercial business in such a small city. You cannot approve businesses on public roads and highways. You cannot allow illegal vending the way it is at present.
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.)
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